CIOs Jumping On The Free Software Bandwagon

from the good-for-them dept

For years, we've heard claims that, for all the wonders of "free software," the "real" CIO would never use free software, as they would need to have a clear monetary relationship with the provider to ensure things wouldn't go bad. Of course, that's pretty silly. Lots of IT departments have made use of all sorts of free software such as Linux and Apache, but a new study suggests that CIOs are quite comfortable with using free software, finding that "76% of CIOs surveyed say they use free software at the enterprise level and 88% said they have free software deployed at the department level."

Now some of this may be driven by standard free utilities like Adobe Reader, but many CIOs reports using things like OpenOffice, Google Docs, Skype and others. In fact, the study found that 54% of the CIOs for large organizations admitted to using more than 10 free software products (if you drop it to six or more, the number goes up to 84%). CIOs seemed split down the middle in preferring open source software to proprietary but still free products, which isn't really a huge surprise.

Not surprisingly, the CIOs who use so much free software say it's not just the "free" part that makes this happen. They still put the software through the same testing they put fee-based software, but 81% also admit that not having to pay license fees is one of the "key benefits" to going free.

While this might not be all that surprising overall, it is a pretty good view of the general impression of "free software" in the enterprise, suggesting that it's hardly a taboo or something to be avoided.

Filed Under: cios, free, free software, software


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  1. icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), 12 Feb 2010 @ 7:32am

    Re: Free Software vs Freeware

    While I'm not one to harp on a company for taking proprietary software and making it available for free ("freeware"), I do agree there is a huge difference between open source "free software" and "freeware".

    As stated elsewhere, open source software adds the benefit of being highly adaptable for any given implementation. The corporation benefits from the efforts of developers that worked on the project before they adopted the software, and the open source community benefits from continued evolution of the project as it is adapted from one environment to the next.

    "Freeware" is locked-down. It works for one's environment, or it does not. "Beer for free" is not at all a bad thing, but if you can't tweak the recipe you might be left with a bitter aftertaste, if you are able to choke it down at all.

    Free(dom) is such an abused term these days.

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