Here’s a tale of woe from not so far away, not so long ago …
The board at Megacorp were unhappy; their IT was complex, rigid and brittle. The mess caused by years of building bespoke systems to meet the demands of “next week’s launch”, integrating new products, systems and architectures from companies being bought in, hived off and reorganised meant they could no longer do anything new without breaking lots of things old.
So the CTO looked to Bigvendor to save his job: “your ad-hoc unprofessional developers are to blame”, they said, “make ‘buy not build’ your mantra, embrace our best-of-breed package ‘Broom’, it’s only $$, and you’ll no longer have to be nice to all those badly dressed computing types.”
Unfortunately Broom didn’t quite work out of the box or quite do what it said on the tin, so a swarm of be-suited Broom $$$ consultants infested Megacorp to do the integration and indoctrinate all and sundry in The Way of The Broom. The bristle components were replaced with softer ones to work with Megacorp’s PineFlooring system and Broom’s handles were lengthened to deal with their tables.
Success! So Megacorp ditched most of its developers, the savvy ones leaving first of their own accord.
Meanwhile Bigvendor, who had been using its $$$$$$ wisely, released Broom 2.0 with stiffer bristles and a shorter handle incompatible with Broom 1.0’s.
With a new product on the market, Bigvendor and its consultants quickly lost all interest in maintaining Broom 1.0, especially where the customer has dared to change the bristles and handles.
It was only then that Megacorp realised it didin’t actually own its Broom 1.0 installation, or would ever find anyone able to fix it.
Moral: you have to be daft as a brush not to embrace Open Source.
Update: I’m reminded by someone in Megacorp that actual ratio between $$ and $$$ is estimated to be around 1:80. Oi Veh!
Technorati Tags: Open Source