There was a time years ago when open source software in the enterprise often had to be just ‘good enough.’ Over time, use and broader adoption, open source software has now reached the point that it must often be ‘as good or better’ than proprietary alternatives, now typically getting equal consideration from customers and users.
At the same time, we are seeing examples of non-open source players and technologies being used and adopted by customers and communities that, while aware and appreciative of open source software, are often content with non-open source as long as it is ‘open enough.’
Amazon’s cloud APIs are a perfect example of cloud computing technology that is acceptable and open to an extent, but certainly isn’t open source. Do they represent open standards? That’s somewhat unclear, but what does seem clear is that even though they aren’t open source, they may be open enough.
What will this mean for open source and the industry going forward? Matt has covered how cloud computing can be both complimentary and competitive for open source software. I believe this question of ‘open enough’ represents a significant challenge to open source software from non-open source vendors and forces that are learning to adapt to a more open world.