Open Source

Building systems penguin style?

If recent reports are anything to go by, CIOs and senior IT executives are taking a closer look at Linux as an enterprise solution. But how do you educate management about the pros and cons of the open source alternative?

OPINION: If recent reports are anything to go by, CIOs and senior IT executives are taking a closer look at Linux as an enterprise solution. But how do you educate management about the pros and cons of the open source alternative?

We hear of major corporates and government departments carrying out large rollouts of Linux in their organisations, or doing feasibility studies into the technology.

What is it that is attracting IT departments to now seriously consider the Linux operating system? Is it concerns about the cost of software licences, or what many consider to be the greater flexibility of open source?

Everyone in the IT department might understand why your company would use Linux, but how do you extend that understanding to senior executives or board-level managers?

The other question is whether the concept of open source sharing in Australia extends to enterprises exchanging information about problems they've had with rollouts, or projects which just haven't got off the ground.

Senior management are often reluctant to talk about IT problems they've had—investor confidence, public perception of the organisation, and potential security breaches are often among the reasons cited.

Many times I've talked to CIOs and IT managers who have been excited by 'this amazing project we're working on', only to say that they can't talk about it for fear of losing their competitive advantage.

Despite the fervour that often arises when you talk to enthusiasts about Linux, it still hasn't completely escaped - rightly or wrongly - the concern from enterprises assessing how to get the level of support they need for their business.

What have been your experiences with Linux in your organisation? Do you think that companies should be willing to share experiences they've had on open source projects? Talkback below or e-mail us your tips at edit@zdnet.com.au

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