Is Open Source Free?

Given it is only a download away, open source seems a gift that cannot be turned down. But if you are a business, the decision is by no means zero cost. Given there is no procurement, technical feasibility might not be assessed. This means that later on, the open source code might not scale –and legally, packaging and reselling it within a product that is sold or licensed might be a violation of the original terms. Given open source might not be identified as an asset, it might not be audited, properly patched, or maintained. A set of strict best practices can help manage these risks (See Mark Pratt’s Computerworld May article).

Yet, open source can make a business’ better by having the business give back to the open source community. IT professionals can grow technically and professionally, and also establish personal contacts that can help within the open source community (after all, a great plus if the business depends on the software build by this community).

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