Over Christmas I came across a couple of extremely useful publications for those people needing to promote open source to business users. The first is a report on the International Status of Open Source Software, from the Cenatic Foundation. As well as providing an overview of the state of Open Source adoption around the world, the report looks at various factors that might explain differing “maturity levels” (their term) or levels of adoption. They highlight the importance of engagement from the private sector, public sector, universities and development communities. The UK, for instance, is held back by the lack of promotion at government level, compared to countries such as Germany, where greater EU involvement also lends a helping hand. None of the findings are rocket science, I grant you, but it’s one of those useful documents that provides and overview and sources for some nice shiny graphs in presentations.
The other useful publication is the January 2011 issue of Open Source Business Resource, a Canadian monthly (free) magazine that deals with Open Source from a business perspective. It has a different theme each month and is available in pdf or html format. The January 2011 issue is entitled “The Business of Open Source” and contains, amongst other things, an article on ‘cost optimisation through open source software’. What this basically does is ask “Yeah, but…” to all those annoying FUD and whitewash articles that claim it’s cheaper to go proprietary because open source is not free and has lots of hidden costs, like training or administration (…). For example, they examine the salary costs required to administer a windows-based setup versus unix, bearing in mind the more diverse skill set of the average windows versus unix sysadmin (their argument, not mine). Again, there’s no rocket science here, but some very useful facts and figures. You might also like the March 2009 issue of OSBR, which is all about Open Source Geospatial- and there are others in the archives about support, licensing, business models and so on.