Open source in the enterprise

CIO.com has conducted a survey of IT and business executives, collecting data from 328 respondents. The results of the survey show that 53% of the respondents are using open source applications in their organization today, and an additional 10% plan to do so in the next year.

Among those currently employing open-source solutions, the primary uses are operating systems such as Linux (78%), infrastructure applications, such as back end databases and Web servers (74%), and software development tools like Eclipse (61%).

Business application use isn’t far behind: 45% of the respondents are using desktop applications such as OpenOffice.org, and 29% use open source enterprise applications (the most popular being collaboration tools, customer relationship management tools and ERP applications).

Close to three in five respondents (58%) strongly agree or agree with the statement that Linux is reliable enough to depend upon for mission-critical applications.

The primary reasons of open source adoption are financial: lower total cost of ownership (59%) and acquisition costs (56%) lead the pack, followed by greater flexibility (32%) and access to source code (30%).

Unfortunately, there are still barriers to adoption. The primary reason is product support concerns (45%), followed by the awareness or knowledge of available solutions (29%), security concerns (26%) and lack of support by management (22%).

Software quality issues are cited as a primary barrier to adoption by 20% and customization concerns by 15%. So if you’re trying to sell the boss on the virtues of open source, spend more time on reassurance about tech support availability and quality than you do on customization opportunities.

While more than half of enterprises use open source today, the degree of intimacy with the philosophy varies quite a bit. Companies may often (43%) or sometimes (24%) treat such applications as just free software, although 49% contribute to the community and 11% have open-source committers on their staff.

You can find the CIO.com article about the survey here.

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