Executives Should Open Minds to Open Source Development Techniques
VA Software survey shows enterprises need education to reap efficiency benefits of Open Source development practices
FREMONT, California November 15, 2004 A survey by VA Software Corporation (NASDAQ: LNUX) has revealed that while Open Source tools, technologies and techniques are used in a majority of enterprises, executive resistance to Open Source may be hindering greater adoption of Open Source development methods for internal software development. As a result, many enterprises are failing to capitalize on the benefits of Open Source development processes and techniques.
VA Software, a leading provider of software, information and community support for IT managers and development professionals, recently polled 176 engineers, managers, directors and executives.1 The majority (87%) said they used at least some Open Source tools (such as CVS), technologies (such as Apache or Linux) or development techniques (such as network-enabled collaborative development) within their organization.
When asked what specific Open Source techniques they use for internal development, 54% cited collaborative development, 37% said they conducted continuous integration and testing, while just 36% said they reuse existing assets in a manner similar to Open Source development projects.
More than half of the respondents (57%) believed that the main benefit of adopting more Open Source development processes and techniques is improved software quality, while 45% cited increased productivity and efficiency, and 35% said lowered costs. However, despite these benefits, 43% of respondents believe that resistance from senior management is the greatest barrier to adopting more Open Source development processes in the enterprise. Furthermore, nearly four out of ten (38%) said their executive team either does not understand or does not trust Open Source.
"IT and development professionals widely acknowledge the effectiveness of more agile, collaborative development methods as practiced in the Open Source community," said Colin Bodell, senior vice president and CTO, at VA Software. "Meanwhile, the demonstrable success and quality of Open Source applications like Linux, Apache and JBoss have proven that Open Source development techniques allow widely distributed groups to efficiently produce enterprise-class solutions." Bodell added, "This survey suggests that many of today's software development challenges could be solved by applying more Open Source techniques in the enterprise. However, misperceptions and mistrust of Open Source at the executive level is preventing many enterprises from more fully embracing these techniques and their associated benefits. Clearly ienterprises need more education if they are to overcome today's most pressing development challenges."
The survey also asked respondents about their primary development challenges. When asked why development projects go over budget (as they do more than half of the time for 46% of firms), the majority (53%) cited changing requirements or goals as the leading cause, followed by setting unrealistic targets (27%). Additionally, 56% said they work longer hours and 63% said they feel more stressed than a year ago. While many attribute these challenges to competitive pressures and cost constraints, the third most common cause (20% of respondents) was the increasingly distributed nature of their development organizations. In this survey, 74% reported that their development organization spanned more than one physical location and 17% had development spread across more than 20 physical locations. Distributed development is known to present numerous challenges in terms of team communication, collaboration and coordination.
VA Software has published a free white paper to help businesses adapt and leverage best practices of the Open Source development model for internal software development. Entitled, "`Leveraging Open Source Processes and Techniques in the Enterprise," the paper is available from the company's website at www.vasoftware.com.
About VA Software
VA Software (Nasdaq: LNUX) is a leading provider of software, information and community support for IT managers and development professionals. VA Software is the parent company of OSTG (Open Source Technology Group) and the creator of SourceForge®. SourceForge.net is the global nexus for the Open Source community with more than 90,000 Open Source projects and over 950,000 registered users. SourceForge Enterprise Edition is a redesigned, enterprise-grade version of SourceForge for optimizing and managing distributed development across the enterprise.
OSTG, the cornerstone of the Open Source movement, is the leading online network for IT managers and development professionals. OSTG technology-focused sites include Slashdot.org, SourceForge.net, ITManagersJournal.com, NewsForge.com, Linux.com and freshmeat.net. OSTG also runs ThinkGeek.com, an online retailer of technology products, and the MediaBuilder network, featuring AnimationFactory.com. OSTG reaches more than 16 million visitors every month and delivers more than 250 million page views.
For more information about VA Software, visit www.vasoftware.com. For more information about OSTG, visit www.ostg.com.
1 VA Software online survey of "Application Development and Open Source Process Trends," October 2004. Survey methodology available upon request.
VA Software, OSTG, and SourceForge are trademarks or registered trademarks of VA Software Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks or product names are property of their respective owners.