Thursday, January 23, 2014

Going open source at work: How to convince your boss

Inline image 1

Open source is more prominent than ever – especially in the enterprise level. It's creeping onto desktops, serving up web sites, managing content, and even hosting the largest web site on the planet (Facebook). Many administrators want to bring open source into their workplaces, but are finding that those who sign the checks are often unwilling to make a move on software they have deemed unworthy and unproven. You know they are wrong, but you've yet to convince them so.

If you've been trying to persuade your boss, but you haven't made much progress, don't give up just yet. Persuasion is an art, and in order to craft strong arguments, you have to be armed with the right points. While not all of these will apply to every situation, you should be able to build up a solid case that will surely help sway the powers that be into seeing the benefits of employing open source software.

Flexibility – For every proprietary task, open source software can achieve that same goal in a number of different ways. When using open source, unlike the Apple or Microsoft way, you can do what you need to do in exactly the method you need. Most will assume this is because you have open access to the source code and can re-code as needed. Open source offers plenty of flexibility well beyond the code. Think of your task as a puzzle. Although Apple and Microsoft might have the exact puzzle pieces necessary to get the job done, open source offers a sort of flexible puzzle piece that can fit into that open spot in any way – as if the puzzle piece itself can be re-configured to perfectly match the hole you need filled. Between all the various pieces offered by open source, you can get the job done in multiple ways. That is true flexibility.

Control – Similar to the flexibility offered by open source, when you deploy open source, you get complete control over how it's used, when it's used, how often it's used and so much more. With a lot of proprietary software, there are strict rules with how something is put in place and the job it does – this is both with the structure of the software as well as the license. For anyone who wants to be able to exert full control over the software used in their business, open source is the ideal solution. With open source, you are not beholden to a license or a company that dictates how the software is implemented. It's yours; use it as needed.

Read more: Pluralsight blog