Developers Use Open Source but are Concerned about Tool Deployments

A survey of software developers reveals widespread use of open source solutions, but lack of effective policies and integration have many worried.

In survey results released in early February, earlier this month surveyed more than 1600 developers, architects and managers regarding the deployment and use of open source solutions in the development infrastructure. The survey revealed that dev organizations have widely deployed open source tools and solutions, but with little effective control and management.

According to the survey, conducted by development software and services provider Sonatype, 83 percent of respondents said they had deployed open source development tools; half (50 percent) said these deployments were part of a corporate standard. Although over half of the surveyed firms identified poor integration between tools as a top complaint, the larger concern may be the lack of control over open source tool deployments.

"These things start organically, but then spread and grow up in the enterprise," said Charles Gold, chief marketing officer at Sonatype. "What we're hearing most often is that companies really love the tools, but that they need better support and integration in order to extend their usage even further."

Eighty-seven percent of respondents said their organizations "exert little control over the use of open source components," with 42 percent noting their lack of corporate standards for adopting open source development tools. Another 45 percent said they had standards that were not enforced.

Leaving Money on the Table

"By some estimates, $70 billion is spent each year on custom software development and 40 percent of that is wasted," Gold said. "Many organizations adopt open source to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of their custom development initiatives, but without controls they're leaving money on the table."

Gold urged development managers to focus on two key areas when managing open source solutions: integration and support. "Many organizations fall into the trap of do-it-yourself integration between their tools. Then, as adoption increases and various components change, their integrations become increasingly fragile," Gold said of the integration challenge facing many companies.

He also urged organizations standardizing on open source software to seek support from a dedicated provider rather than rely on internal resources. "When your team is supporting your tools rather than writing software -- you're losing the benefits of using open source software," Gold said.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.