The decision to forego proprietary software isn't always easy, but those who rise to the challenge can reap the rewards. Early adopters of open source blazed the trail for enterprise users of this new software model, even though they didn't know where the journey might lead. Some of the territories they pioneered -- such as Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl -- are now well established. In other areas, however, open source is only beginning to make inroads: CRM, portal management, content management and reporting, for example.
For those willing to lead IT into new open source territories, the rewards await: a broad support community, greater flexibility and more control over critical technologies. Good open source technology is supported by a broad base of developers, so the final code is well vetted and supported, just as good commercial code is, says Judith Hurwitz, president of IT research company Hurwitz & Associates.
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