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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why Open Source CMS is Important

The Web Managers Roundtable is presenting Open Source Content Management Systems: Panacea or Pandora’s Box? A Critical Evaluation of Open Source Content Management & Lessons Learned from WhiteHouse.gov's Open Source Initiative on April 25th. Event Summary

Disclosure - Julie, who runs the WMR has been a protégé for over 15 years, and Tony Byrne, the moderator, is a friend and teacher who started CMS Watch.

This morning, Julie asked me, “Why is Open Source important?”

Open Source is a major software development paradigm. Strengths are most code comes from adapting already proven modules of code, which speeds development and that code can be developed by large groups of interested coders communicating over the internet.

It’s a flat management model, where the people driving the projects are usually the best coders.

Problems are that the average code is not that good. However, you don’t use the average code, you use the best code for your project, so open source is known for high quality, rapidly improving products.

Having abundant excellent code has changed the software business model. Why and how code is purchased is changing. My key observation is it is not the cost, but how well the software supports the customer and mission that is the big advantage.

It takes a while, but once a customer organization realizes there is no one to blame, they get focused on getting what they want.

When code is no longer scarce, how do you build a your business? This reuse of proven parts is not limited to software, but that is where it started.

Makers, a near future business fantasy by Cory Doctorow, extends open source management to manufacturing and design, medicine, communication, and other industry verticals. Makers is a great book.

Open source software is already the plumbing of the internet.

It is a key advantage for many billion dollar businesses.

Understanding the state of open source content management systems is a key to future-proofing your web presence.

Comments, Ideas, Observations?