How to implement Open Source Software in Corporation?
Once I got a discussion with a potential Client regarding their already had problem in implementing PostgreSQL. At first, they are asking why PostgreSQL being corrupted after it runs for 30 Tera bytes of data. And right after a while discussion, it turns out that they are using single volume of storage by help of LVM and run on top of zfs filesystem. it should be fine if we are taking a good precaution about this, and the most important is what is our mitigation over any potential issue on those implementation.
It would be always a great idea if we understand well about our risk in every situation we have. Nevertheless in this situation, when we are using Open Source software in our part of production system. Open Source software has been soaring its popularity in our business lately, almost every business people right now heard about Open Source and the software such as Linux, PostgreSQL, Hadoop, etc. Indonesia is not left behind in this case, even better we are quite leading in the production system implementation compare to our neighborhood countries. Linux and PostgreSQL is the mascot. there are many adoption and usage, and of course there are great success stories, and sad story as well.
Open Source is a miracle, indeed. There were no a better situation of having such alternative in this era compare to the past. Right now we have many options, we are the master of our choices, we have the same opportunity with our colleague in other developed country — something that we didn’t have the luxury before — . if we purchase a software 1 million USD, the same thing it is purchased by our colleagues in Europe, with ARPU 3 times higher than us, that was not a fair business, isn’t it? Now it is no more, we are in the same track, we are the master of our own. Thanks to Open Source.
But. The ability to adopt Open Source software is not the same. Develop country seems understand better than us, why? this is the main issue that we are talking about right now. We know that Open Source is great, it can help us getting more competitive than before, but we had to know that it require bunches of prerequisite. One of them is the understanding on how to implement those Software into our production system neatly. What was that?
Most professional understands that using Open Source means we don’t need to purchase the license, even they are thinking as UN-license thing, which is not. This is the first issue. A software considered as Open Source because it is licensed as Open Source license, unless it is not. So, Open Source software is a license one but that is not relate to the commercialization of the software, while usually people relate license with the commercial usage (which is one of the purpose of the license). The most important of the license is legality, starts from the community which has very long history of software pirate, legality sometime is not high respected in our consideration, this is what we should aware at first, most developed country respect that very well.
While Open Source software is licensed, then it is legally for everyone to use it (without paying to anyone) and in the other hand, prevent everyone claim the software. License has a great purpose to ensure the usage of the software for most benefit to the public, as long as possible. The second thing is warranty, there is no way an Open Source software brings you warranty, you must resource the warranty yourself, and this is the important part.
Most people thinks that Open Source is a great software, therefore it is perfect, until it proves otherwise. Well, something that already late and damage has been done. What in the earth you might have a free lunch? there is no free lunch as well as there is no spoon in The Matrix the movie. Some software might markets as Open Source while it is actually backed by a private institution (such as Odoo, Mulesoft), it require you to purchase the commercial version in order you to use it well and proper. But, some real and pure Open Source software such as PostgreSQL, Hadoop are different, there are no “official” company who has the legitimate power as principal and therefore you should purchase from them as the “principal”.
Short story. Actually, using Open Source is expose us to more risk that before. this is something that people missed to see the bigger picture, the euphoria of using without sacrificing our budget sometimes blinds us. The risk is quite high as high as it shouldn’t be a choice to use in mission critical production system. Unless, there are a mitigation to cover that risk.
In order to cover the risk, there are some options: (a) build a research team and run research until the team are understand well the concept and able to do the debugging of the source code when needed. (b) rent or pay a professional or consultant to do that. (c) purchase a service which already made for it by an institution who has the research team and focus in the process and services.
Open Source is always a great idea, it enable us to have a better option, and it should be maintained wisely. It all back to us to decide, since Open Source is yours anyway.