Monday, August 08, 2005

Not Ready For Prime Business Time

Is an application business ready? After getting burned a few times, this becomes an excellent question. It's a critical question if you're installing a Linux application. You can hate Microsoft all you want. If you REALLY hate them, you'll stop giving them money for everything except their Windows OS. In most cases of Open Source products money isn't changing hands. Some techie with time to spare has crafted up an app and put it out there for the world to enjoy. They loved to conceptualize and code.
The conservation of characteristics takes over: the better the code, the cheaper the code, the worse the documentation and supporting material. Sure it works like a charm, but you have to get past the dense-to-non-existant installation script; the documentation that might read only "This is the documentation." What makes an OpenCVS into a Skype is all of the extras. No, no, no: OpenCVS and Skype are not at all the same products. They are both offered for free. They are popular. They sit on opposite sides of the ease-of-use scale. Run the install and voila you have Skype. Run the OpenCVS and... and... (insert sound of techie falling down a chasm of lost productivity here).
Ease-of-use and Business-Readiness are almost one in the same. If something crashes all the time, it's not ready nor easy to use. If something looks great, works great but has gaping security holes it's-- well it's probably a Microsoft product-- but it's also not business ready.

Hence, it may be ideal to have a Business Ready Rating standard (http://www.openbrr.org/). Business Readiness Rating (BRR) is being proposed as a new standard model for rating open source software. It is intended to enable the entire community (enterprise adopters and developers) to rate software in an open and standardized way. BRR is a community initiative that is being sponsored by Carnegie Mellon West Center for Open Source Investigation, O'Reilly CodeZoo, SpikeSource and Intel. Phase one is a public comment period: asking the community to provide feedback and help shape this standard to make it useful to both enterprise adopters and open source developers.

So, if this strikes a chord, let them know :)

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