23.Tablet Connections

"Open source security is arguably getting better, thanks to vendors like Chainguard and industry consortia like the Open Source Security Foundation. But we have a ways to go, and in the meantime, security, as well as other factors, mean that “free as in beer” is never truly free."

Convenience, not cost, drives open source adoption. That’s the primary finding of a new report from The Linux Foundation on the economic value of open source, and it’s a bit counterintuitive. In an interview with Professor Henry Chesbrough, adjunct professor at UC Berkeley and author of the report, he stressed that while cost is a significant perceived benefit of open source, not everyone finds it cheaper. Yet even the “open source costs more” crowd says the benefits of open source trump the costs. The primary advantage? Availability. In other words: speed of development. 

Freely downloadable code has never been truly free (as in cost). The bits might be free, but there’s a cost to manage those bits. Developers always cost more than the code they write or manage. This may be one reason that when enterprises were asked what they most value in “open source leadership,” they responded with “makes it easy to deploy my preferred open source software in the cloud.” Companies increasingly want the benefits of open source without the expense of managing it themselves.