well written and well organised
This book is aimed primarily at IT managers who wish to select and use open source software in their organisations. It is well written and well organised: each chapter starts with an executive summary and there are numerous marginal notes that can be skimmed to get the gist of the text very quickly. The author is CEO of a consultancy specialising in open source products and his knowledge and experience are evident from the text.
The book is divided into two major sections: the first part gives a brief overview of open source software and the second part presents a formal tool for evaluating open source products.
The overview of open source software describes what open source software is, who creates it, who uses it, where it can be obtained from and how it might benefit an organisation. It also discusses how individuals and companies are trying to profit from open source, and addresses the risks that are unique to open source products. There is a good discussion of the major open source licenses and their implications for companies wishing to incorporate open source software into their own products.
The second part of the book is a detailed presentation of a formal approach to evaluating open source products - the "Open Source Maturity Model (OSMM)". The central idea is to award points to products in six main categories: the software itself, the support options, documentation, training, integration with other products, and the availability of professional services (which could include installation, configuration, training and support.) The author uses JBoss (a Java-based application server) as an example and shows how it might score in an OSMM exercise. Although various aspects of the OSMM evaluation process are fairly obvious, and there is some overlap between categories, the model is a useful basis for comparing products and will answer many of the questions an IT manager ought to be asking before committing to an open source solution.