Why are we offering OpenRate as an open source project?
The resons are complex, but the flavour of it is this:
- We think that the time is right for open source software - it has passed into a phase of maturity and now offers both the benefits of traditional software with the benefits of open source software. The disadvantages of open source software are now easily mitigated by having a partner who is able and experienced in performing the stewadship role in order to manage the platform
- We think the cost/benefit relationship for traditional software is much worse than that of open source - the current commercial products that are available on the market are too inflexible (you spend 60% of a project doing the core work, and the other 70% producing workarounds to the inflexible APIs and modules - and yes, that is right, 60 + 70 = 130, which reflects the average project overrun of 30%)
- We are entering a cost sensitive period - The existing products ask too much money for the license, and offer too little in the way of support
- Open Source changs the support relationship - Dealing with the support organisations is a never ending source of frustration, because they keep secrets from you. The secret is the software source code, and every support case has a period of question and answer before you can identify the problem. It's like playing 20 questions. The first line support staff do not know the product, have never worked in a project or operational environment, and seem to be paid in proportion the obtuseness of the responses they give. Open source changes this - you can attach a debugger if you want, and can read the code comments and see the line or module that is causing you problems. A trouble ticket becomes specific and you are elevated to a status of peer with the support team
- The existing products are not extendible - they do what they do, and anything else you want do do, you have to do yourself outside of the product
- We believe that the market is going into a "build" phase of the build-buy cycle - we are swinging back into a build phase of the buy-build cycle. Open source software harmonises perfectly with this