Barriers to Entry

By Debra Donston  |  Posted 2002-07-08 Print this article Print

Barriers to Entry

One of the sticking points for open source right now is that, in general, it doesnt run well on Windows. "This is part inertia, part politics and part expediency," said Dyck.

"Some packages, like MySQL or OpenOffice, are known for their good Windows support, but that characteristic is unusual. IT staff could make many open-source applications more strategic if they ran on the operating system those organizations had installed," said Dyck.

Another barrier to wider enterprise use of open source, especially on the desktop, is ease of use. Most open-source applications were not written with the average business user in mind. The cost companies would pay to train and then support their users on a desktop version of Linux, for example, could negate any savings in licensing costs.

Strides are being made in improving user interfaces so they are more familiar to the general business user. Recent examples are OpenOffice and the newest release of GNU Network Object Model Environment.

As these issues get ironed out, eWeek Labs and other analysts expect that open source will proliferate.

"This is the period where I think it will start to get some grudging respect," said Forresters Howe. "It will no longer be counterculture; it will be a tool for businesses, and people will use it."

Executive Editor Debra Donston can be reached at


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