Although he couches it in terms to suggest he is saying otherwise, the Naked CIO has trotted out an article suggesting that open source has crawled into its grave and is waiting for someone to come over and shovel some dirt on it. Although his observations are accurate, as far as they go, I think he has quite demonstrably come to the wrong conclusion in the matter… and further, I would guess that the reasons he has done so are not uncommon among CIOs today, but that they reveal certain biases toward traditional approaches to technology which are unfounded and rapidly dissipating.
To start, Naked lays out some truisms which aren't foreign to any CIO who has worked with open-source resources. Mature open-source projects are generally fast, stable, and cost-effective to work with. New and small open source technologies are complicated and often operate at cross-purposes, and aren't the thing to run your operations on unless you appreciate 3AM phone calls (hello? Hillary?) from the CEO. It's sort of an open secret that open source may be cool, but Microsoft makes the trains run on time. OSS accomplishes a lot for very little in a handful of areas, but beyond those lie frustration and disappointment for most users.
While there is certainly truth to that perspective, it is a perspective which intentionally examines only those factors in the software selection process which OSS falls down on, without balancing them against the corresponding weak points in commercial software. Someone is sure to point out, for example, that critiquing a new OSS project is more or less the same as griping about beta-quality commercial software… open-source just doesn't scream about its beta status. Naked also fails to get into licensing and compliance factors with commercial software, which can be as costly as maintenance is for immature OSS projects. There's also the forced-obsolescence factor; tell me those mandatory Vista upgrades are a bargain when you could be sitting pretty with Ubuntu at any version you want for however long you like.
But I expect all that is pretty much beside the point. In fact, the major reason that Naked is wrong is that the next platform his company is going to be running on will be… he just won't know it. I'm referring here to the cloud or SaaS vendor of your choice, of course, a market in which almost all the major players heavily leverage open source software and technologies. Just because they are transparent doesn't mean they aren't open source; and don't think that anyone could afford to deliver services in such scale using commercial software's restrictive and dated licensing terms. Last I checked, that market is fairly exploding with new vendors and services. If that's death, or even a "niche," sign me up!