As the OSS movement grows. companies are spending more time thinking about open source and whether it might be an option for use in their solutions.
I have always believed that the holy grail for open source is to achieve an active community, contributing and assisting the growth. In this way, requirements can be met that a commercial offering might struggle to satisfy in an acceptable timeframe.
This was brought home to me when I came across a contribution to MuleForge, the community repository for the Mule open source SOA offering. I noticed that someone had contributed Japanese documentation for the Mule ESB. This is a perfect example of my point – even the largest vendors struggle to deliver such things as multi-language documentation. at least until quite late. The issue is justifying and prioritising the necessary resource based on the relatively small market potential addressed by some developments.
But when a community is leveraged, it can contribute many things, even if they are only going to be of interest to a small number of people. So here, one assumes a Japanese user has picked up Mule and decided to write some documentation, presumably for internal use. This has then been contributed to MuleForge, and the result is anyone can benefit from it immediately.
If the power of a worldwide community can truly be unleashed, OSS becomes a highly attractive candidate for product selection shortlists.