EOS Directory is all about Enterprise ready Open Source software. And of course we have documented our criteria for the individual ratings on this site. But let’s take on step back and rethink what makes a project/software actually Enterprise ready. Of course different companies have different opinions but there’s quite a bit of consensus what is important:
- The software must be of high quality, reliable, scalable, etc. So all (most) of the traditional qualities must be fulfilled. That’s all about software engineering.
- There must be enough usage of the software to “guarantee” survival of the technology for the foreseeable time
- The software must be well documented, both in separate documents as well as in the code. There are companies who only use Open Source software, if there’s at least a book published on it
- There must be a vibrant community of a significant size behind the software. In some cases this community may be replaced by a company that would have to fulfill at least the minimum criteria in terms of size and financial viability. Here Enterprises are often forced to make compromises.
- The community (or company) governance is transparent and state-of-the-art methodologies, approaches and principles are applied when developing and maintaining the software. Many enterprises love the Apache Foundation for its strict set of rules here.
- There should be at least some market for professional support and integration services around the project. Ideally this market is where the Enterprise using the software is situated.
- The software is written in a programming language and using components and frameworks that are long term viable and ideally a standard in themselves. Many enterprises prefer Java based open source software and there are some where PHP is a no go.
- The license model applied is compatible with Enterprise usage and allows for enough freedom to not restrict the Enterprise in its development and business strategies.
- The functionality and features must be good enough to meet Enterprise standards. This includes security features, user experience and everything else you expect from software.
These criteria are representing quite a high bar and many Open Source project probably would fail in one area or the other. It’s though much easier to make a compromise when you can influence the roadmap or even the software itself. And here’s a true advantage of Open Source against proprietary software that by the way should meet most of the same critera and doesn’t in many cases.