I found two great articles today on the practical issues involved in using Open Source software (Linux, et al.) in the corporate environment.
The first comes from the ever useful CIO Magazine (free to qualified subscribers) and is called “Your Open Source Plan.” The abstract says, “Once a toy for geeks, open source is slowly but surely filtering into the enterprise and transforming the way software is designed, sold and supported. And any CIO without an open-source strategy in 2003 will be paying too much for IT in 2004.” This article is as good a piece as I’ve seen on practical aspects of Open Source in the corporate enterprise, and includes a good number of actual “from the trenches” reports. Highly recommended.
The second, called “Free and Clear?” by Sanjay Murthi in Intelligent Enterprise, sets out a good summary of business issues involved in selecting Open Sources options, concluding that looking at only licensing costs is unwise indeed. It’s a good companion piece for the optimistic CIO article.
Are there many legal issues with the Open Source licenses? Only enough for me to write a law review article. See “A Primer on Open Source License Legal Issues: Copyright, Copyleft and Copyfuture,” from the St. Louis U. Public Law Review. I also keep a set of links to resources on Legal issues on the Open Source licenses at http://www.denniskennedy.com/opensourcelaw.htm.