Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Free Open Source Software in your company

The vast majority of companies in software industry struggle to cut costs down while trying to keep quality of software high, but this is not easy to accomplish. Software development is radically different from any other industry you may want to consider for a comparison; in order to be a successful firm neither large investments nor brute force are strategic assets.

The new wave of millionaire start-up businesses prove that besides a brilliant idea, user experience, great design and definitely competitive time to market are critical. Consider the main resource of any business: employees, as an example. Increasing number of employees does not ensure goals are achieved either faster or even with better quality (back to the start-up mention, Instagram started with less than ten employees). Nevertheless, hiring top class experts in this business may be the added value: experience and talent are essential when building intellectual value.

Cutting costs down and taking advantage of expertise, that's what triggered the adoption of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in this industry.

Professionalism and passion of huge number of communities of developers are among the main reasons for company to rely on FOSS. Not just because by adopting software components ready to use accelerates production and delivery, but also because quality uses to be assured by an army of skilled volunteers.
On the other side, bringing FOSS into development processes must be done with care. Free software doesn't mean free of control. FOSS is always released with a license, and it's responsibility of the adopter to comply with constraints of that license.

If you are interested in attaining compliance to FOSS licenses in your company and develop processes to facilitate the purpose, maybe it's worth having a look at "The Handbook of FOSS Management".

In this book you will find clear content to understand what tools and processes are needed in a company. I appreciated the definitions: FOSS-IN (bringing FOSS in a company), FOSS-OUT (releasing FOSS developed in a company) and useful ideas to audit software projects (like building a pedigree database to identify uniquely software source code).

If you want to know more on this topic, have a look a these compliance tools at Linux Foundation.
And you, do you know any other book or guideline that describe FOSS management in a company? Please comment.