More than two thirds of senior IT professionals expect their organisations to commit to an open source strategy during the next five years – if they have not done so already.
Respondents to a surveyed by Atos Consulting and the National Computing Centre perceived the key benefits of open source computing as reduced licensing costs, greater flexibility and lower total cost of ownership. But those interviewed expressed concerns over the long term availability of support for open source platforms.
Over half of respondents thought that their organisations would benefit from a switch of server operating systems (56%) and development tools (52%) to open source. However, there was uncertainty over the payback from open source software on the desktop: almost a third believed it would provide some advantage, but the remainder either saw no benefit or were not aware enough of the benefits to be sure.
There was also confusion over the various open source software licensing models, with three quarters of respondents unable to distinguish between a General Public License (GPL), a Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and a Common Development and Distribution License (CGDL).
The leading inhibitor to adoption of open source software listed by respondents was the perceived lack of long term support for the software. A third said that concerns about support would hold back their implementations of open source.
Other inhibitors were legal and copyright concerns (21%), a lack of understanding of the benefits (19%) and confusion over how to obtain a return on investment (19%) from open source.