Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Gartner Gets FLOSS; Late as Usual

A new report by Gartner on Free/Libre/Open Source Software concludes, " ... if you do not think you use it, then you use it; and if you think you do use it, then you use lots more of it than you know." No kidding. They rightly call out the fact that many common big-enterprise vendors use FLOSS components, but fail to mention FLOSS use by the dominant players like Microsoft.

The full report is accessible only by those with money, but KMWorld reported on it, as did ZDNet. Both reporters focused on the use of FLOSS by cloud computing centers, but the report is much more interesting than that. The most interesting statement to me was the positioning of SaaS for enterprises as a primary cost-cutting measure. SaaS is just another form of outsourcing, but this time to a much more level playing field.

Gartner is a funny organization. I haven't quite forgiven them for reporting in 1997 (!) that the Web was not likely to be important to businesses. They even gave that ridiculous statement a 70% confidence rating, IIRC. This time, they seem to be on track, but reporting a bit late. Why wait until FLOSS use is so ubiquitous in mainstream software before telling enterprise CIOs about it?

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