As I watched Arsenal beat Ajax this afternoon, I kept an eye on an interesting piece of research from The Journal of Systems and Software written by Sowe et al. and entitled Understanding knowledge sharing activities in free/open source software projects: An empirical study [PDF]. The research revealed something that I suspected but had not yet seen data to prove: developer communities are great for developers, and not so great for anyone outside them.
What does this mean if you're an enterprise hoping to hitch a free ride on an open-source project? Well, it means that you're better off paying a little money for professional support. Free support is good up to a point, but if that point ends when your job begins, you may be in a world of hurt without it.… Read more