Article:
  There Is No Open Source Community
Subject:   The value of an integrated stack (or 1 + 1 = 3)
Date:   2006-01-13 09:36:18
From:   Daniel026
"With prices approaching zero, software developers have two choices when trying to win over users: (1) add features not available elsewhere, and (2) release the source code. There is no other currency of value that developers can extend to users"

This is only true if you consider each piece of software as a point solution. A vendor that provides an integrated set of products that work better with each other than by themselves has something that is less easy to eclipse by commoditizing a single piece. Microsoft being a case in point, but this applies to other major software vendors too.

You may argue that such beneficial interdependence is just a "feature" but that ignores the fact that you can't beat it simply by improving the capabilities of a single piece of it. You have to improve the capabilities of the whole solution. Hence an Open Source office automation product may approach the individual capabilities of a commercial software equivalent, but if that commercial software equivalent can leverage capabilities of a wider solution not available to the open source product then the open source equivalent will never really match the commercial product in terms of business value.
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  • The value of an integrated stack (or 1 + 1 = 3)
    2006-01-13 17:04:40  john.mark [View]

    Ah, but IT as a whole is gravitating towards point solutions. It's about lower bar to entry, and rebelling against vendor lockin. I'll go more in depth on that in the follow-up article. I have data points from CA and also some Gartner report that I can't locate at the moment.

    Most of the stuff in this article is really rather boring nuts and bolts stuff. The fun stuff is in the next piece. I may even do some Microsoft bashing ;)
    • The value of an integrated stack (or 1 + 1 = 3)
      2006-01-14 00:50:07  Daniel026 [View]

      Thanks. It will be interesting to see how you prove that point (IT as a while gravitating towards point solutions). I would argue that most people - ie the end users who outnumber us IT folk millions to one - simply don't care about these arguments. They just want something that solves their problem, and if a solution comes along that does that in a better/cheaper/faster/whatever way then they're most likely to choose that solution. And a well-integrated solution more likely to do that than a point solution in many cases.

      I realise this is an oversimplification - factors like intertia (stick with what you're used to), follow-the leader (use what everyone else uses), etc come into play as well.
      For what it's worth I would encourage you not to go down the Microsoft bashing route only because it turns a reasoned argument into something religious and emotional, and I think people generally lose perspective. If you're really looking for "the truth", whatever that is, you need to avoid the old religious stuff like the plague.