I’m going to expose you to a few quotes first, with some artistic licence applied:
- Rather than subsidising the rewriting of existing [proprietary] code, [enterprise] resources and funding should be focused on areas where external investment is not being made, areas where [industry segment] requirements are not being addressed, and [radically differentiating] technologies. Within these areas smaller communities of interest should be encouraged to use the same tools and processes that have proven successful in external open source development. The [enterprise] has legal and valid [business] reasons to encourage or require [open source approaches] within those communities of interest, allowing specific systemsÂ and technologiesÂ to evolve more quickly in response to emerging [market threats and opportunities].
- [The enterprise] needs to evaluate the impact that locking into one set of proprietary standards or products may have to its ability to react and respond to [competitors] and more importantly, to technological change that is accelerating regardless of [market conditions]. In order to remain competitive in a rapidly shifting technological landscape (including the disruptive technologies leveraged by our [competitors] ) [the enterprise’s] software development and business processes must break out of the industrial-era acquisitions mold.
- Software code has become centralÂ to the [executive’s] ability to conduct business. If this shift is to be an advantage, rather than an Achilles’ heel, [the enterprise] must pursue an active strategy to manage its software knowledge base and foster an internal culture of open interfaces, modularity and reuse. This entails a parallel shift in acquisitions methodologies and business process to facilitate discovery and reuse of software code across [the enterprise].
- To summarise:
- OSS and open source development methodologies are important to the [security] and [business interests] of the [enterprise] for the following reasons:
- Enhances agility of IT industries to more rapidly adapt and change to use needed capabilities
- Strengthens the industrial base by not protecting industry from competition. Makes industry more likely to compete on ideas and executionÂ versus productÂ lock-in
- Adoption recognises a change in our position with regard to balance of trade on IT
- Enables [the enterprise] to secure the infrasctructure and increase security by understanding what is actually in the source code of software installed in [enterprise] networks
- Rapidly responds to [competitive] actions as well as rapid changes in the technology industrial base
I particularly like the penultimate point, so much so I’llÂ quote it again:Â enables the enterprise to secure the infrastructure and increase security by understanding what is actually in the source code of software installed.
Now the kicker. These quotes are taken from the Open Technology Development Roadmap Plan, April 2006, Version 3.1 (Final), prepared for the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Advanced Systems and Concepts, Department of Defense.
When the DoD understands the value of open source in increasing security, and demonstrates that it really grasps Free as in Freedom not Free as in Gratis, how can it be that enterprises don’t? Now you know why I am Confused. Of Calcutta.