The 451 CAOS Theory blog presents a series of perspectives on the introduction of open source software into the enterprise IT environment – analyzing opportunities and challenges and noting relevant trends and developments in the marketplace. It is written by analysts from The 451 Group, an independent technology-industry analyst company focused on the business of enterprise IT innovation.

The 451 Group has explored the impact of open source approaches on the enterprise software marketplace over a multiyear period – publishing more than 1,500 reports and analyst notes on the topic. Immediately prior to the launch of the 451 CAOS Theory blog the company released a 451 Special Report, ‘Cashing in on open source,’ in December 2005, and hosted a senior executive industry summit – on October 12, 2005 in Palo Alto – to discuss the market opportunity for companies that are building, investing in or otherwise using open source technology. Numerous reports and industry meetings have followed.

This blog was launched as a way to create a more interactive dialogue between 451 analysts and the enterprise open source community. It is, therefore, intended to be a forum for sharing information, pointing to interesting news stories/opinions and generally wringing out key issues that are important to the community. As a free offering, 451 analysts hope that their investment of time and energy to share their thoughts with community members will result in intellectual payback as blog members bring up ideas, arguments and points of view that the 451 team has not otherwise considered.

This blog is also a jumping-off point for – and a complement to – the more in-depth analysis in the 451 Commercial Adoption of Open Source (CAOS) Research Service, which was launched in 2006. This paid-for client service analyzes the challenges and opportunities as commercial enterprise ‘early adopters’ introduce open source software into their core IT operations, and it will examine the effectiveness of the strategies, business models and support/development programs of vendor companies that are deploying an open source approach in delivering software to their enterprise customers.

More information about the 451 CAOS Research Service is available here.

Debates on open source versus proprietary business models often degenerate into religious warfare. The approach of The 451 Group is that of pragmatic, intelligent analysis on a case-by-case basis. The fundamental starting point is that open source methodologies present a potentially disruptive, and also valuable, asset that complements the way both vendors and enterprise IT organizations conduct their businesses. Open source software is a development trend that neither side can afford to ignore, but that doesn’t mean that it is always applicable or that it can’t involve considerable pain.

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