Open Source - Barriers to Entry
I think I have a short, coherent description of the underlying cause of
the barriers to adoption to Open Source:
"Some Thinking/Expertise Required"
(as in "Some Assembly Required" or "Batteries not included")
It stems from:
Is IT well-managed?
Which leads to:
Is "Mangement" generally practiced well??
To both of these, my answer is a strong "NO" - it's all about failure of
The Usual Management Method
I've seen very consistent behaviours, attitudes and approaches across
every organisation I've worked in [a very large cross-section]. I don't
know where they arise or how - but there are best described as
'unschooled' or 'hard knocks'.
Certainly not 'insightful', educated nor informed... That appears to be
I've met precious few managers that I'd call competent, let alone good.
And very few who'd bothered to train in their work.
One (a scientist in charge of 100 ppl and a $30M budget) bragged "I've
never done *any* management training".
His PhD in biology qualified him for everything...
[The subtitle of "Other Peoples Money" is: 'Arrogance, Ignorance and
Self-Delusion'. Wide-spread and
Perhaps this one point, consistent management training, is the reason
IBM dominated the computing industry for 3 decades...
[And their avarice/denial brought them undone]
Professional Management & Management Profession
'Management' doesn't qualify as a 'Profession' under my definition:
- an identified & testable set of practices, skills, competencies
- (behaviour?) [think pilot or surgeon]
- means to provide barriers to entry and disqualification/discipline
- Improvement/Learning mechanisms:
- by invention/discovery
- by incremental improvement
- analysis of failure & root-cause analysis + corrective actions (think 'bridge falling down' or plane crash)
IT Management and general Management
Without Professional & competent business managers, there can be good
management of IT.
Without good IT management, good practices and competent practitioners
are rare and can't be maintained...
IT is populated mostly by a bunch of rowdy, undisciplined 'cowboys'
that are set in their ways and do what they please.
IT management is about politics, influencing and pleasing, not any
rational, objective measures.
That explains the Fads & Fashions of Management, and the almost
universal CIO mantra "nobody got fired for buying <fad/fashion>".
And of course:
- Risk Avoidance & Blame Shifting [consultants & outsourcers]
Implications for Open Source business
How to use this premise?
- Wait for the current fashion to collapse [or have cracks]. All fads & fashions change.
- Find the few competent business & IT managers out there and sell to them...
- Sell them camouflaged/disguised systems - like embedded devices or appliances (e.g. network, storage, security)