PLM Open Source is Better Without Open Source

PLM Open Source is Better Without Open Source

Open source is one of the PLM trends I covered in the past in my blog. I wanted to come back to this topic again. The title of my blog post was half stolen from the article on – Open source software policy is better without open source. Read the article and made your own conclusion. The following passage is my favorite:

When the OMB and DOD declared open source software to be “commercial software,” it wasn’t a bureaucratic trick to legitimize open source. They meant it quite literally: software is software, and whether it was developed by open source, a proprietary company, or a team of monkeys, all the same rules apply. 

Open source software introduced lots of changes in the way software developed for the last 10 years. If I recall open source software policies used by the company I worked for a decade ago, it was completely different back that days. The biggest problem of manufacturing companies (and other enterprises) to deal with open source is trustful support contacts. Here is another passage from the same artcile:

The underlying concern (beyondplm: about support), though, is valid. Unsupported software presents a risk. Poor support is almost worse—think of the hours we’ve all wasted with an unqualified or unresponsive support operation. This isn’t specific to open source. Bad support is bad support, no matter how the software was developed.

Aras PLM, the company experimenting with open source and PLM was on my monitor for the last 5 years. Aras developed their business strategy around so-called Enterprise Open Source. The definition itself is not self-explaining. One of a few “smaller PLM vendors” staying alone and independent since early 2000s, Aras’ experiments overall are quite interesting. Making some research on Aras website, I found it presents little to none mentioning of “open source” terms at least from home page.

What is my conclusion? Aras enterprise open source is an innovation in PLM licenses and business models. The discussion about “true” open source definition I’ve seen in the past is probably irrelevant in case of PLM. I’ve seen little to none interest of manufacturing companies to modify existing software code. Opposite to that, I’ve seen lots of interest to develop on top of the software platform with predictable licensing model. The development of new business models is one of the most complicated areas enterprise software is going to discover coming years. Enterprise open source, free software, software-as-a-service (SaaS) – here are just few examples of different approaches in this space. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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