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By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2004-03-25 Print this article Print

Rule 3: Know your value and focus on that alone. "Customers don't really care what's underneath; they just want good functionality. Some companies still design and build their own application servers instead of substituting an open-source one that will work just fine. I say: Go and build something the customer needs! Build something that will help your own business do its job. Same thing with databases; you don't need to be in the database business to build these things. Focus on where you get paid for value," Augustin said. Rule 4: Lower costs mean a bigger market. "Learn a lesson from Microsoft here: It lowered the cost of the PC by lowering the cost of the operating system," he said. "Open-source operating systems are growing the software market, expanding the market for all of us. Open source is the world's largest QA lab; there are far fewer defects found per KLoC [thousand lines of code]."

Rule 5: Quality matters. "In the open-source world, you know exactly who wrote the code. There is a lot of pride in authorship out there. Your name atop a piece of code means more than a corporate copyright," Augustin said. "On the other side, who knows who wrote the primary Windows code base? Ultimately, we do not know."

Rule 6: Engineers have value. "Companies need to understand the power of developers, and their connection to the code they build. Once the code leaves the developers hands, things can change. In the traditional software cycle [in a proprietary company], developers are eventually disintermediated. In open source, the developer and customer are in it together and always in the loop," he said.

Rule 7: Remove the middleman. "Direct is almost always the best way to go. Why pay extra overhead for software you can obtain for free or for low cost, that will work just fine?"

Rule 8: Know your business and its IT needs. "Is the software you're building core to your business? If you're a bank, for example, and you're building software with particular algorithms for stocks, then yes, you're writing code for your core competence. If you're a bank and you're building app servers, then, no-you'd better revisit your overall goals."

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Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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