In partnering with Red Hat and Alfresco, and building large applications for Endeca and the Chicago Public Radio (not Schools, corrected 9/17), the open source software (OSS) services supplier Optaros has been in the news a lot recently. So I caught up with Marc Osofsky, Optaros’ VP of Marketing, to find out what the buzz is about.
Optaros was founded three years ago with the express intent of bringing OSS expertise to larger enterprises. Large enterprises have historically turned to a big-four-type consulting firm whenever they bring in a new technology. But the big four (or however many there are left these days) has been slow to pick up the OSS mantle the way they keyed on SAP in the early1990s and Siebel in the late 1990s. Despite the fact that large consulting firms work on a collaborative basis and had always been big contributors to groups such as IBM SHARE and Digital’s DECUS, they just didn’t get OSS in the beginning. Or they decided that people that wanted “free software” probably wouldn’t pay for services to implement it.
Optaros saw it differently. With guys who cut their consulting teeth at Cambridge Technology Partners, Viant and Scient, they saw an opening. Optaros’ specific mission statement is to
• Build next generation (i.e. Web 2.0) Internet solutions
• By assembling rather than developing
• Entirely from OSS
• With a design emphasis on the “user experience”
The Optaros news that most intrigued me was the updating and move online of its solutions catalog in July. The project is called the Enterprise Open Source (EOS) directory. In it Optaros analysts rate about 300 OSS communities based on client experience. A key criteria is whether the related OSS projects are enterprise ready and the directory includes case studies and other useful information that illustrate the increasing maturity of the OSS movement. One interesting aspect is that while Optaros puts the projects on the list, anyone—even Optaros competitors—can participate in the rating process. Others can also suggest new OSS projects to be added the list.
I asked Marc what Optaros thinks of open choice because a key part of the client decision process in choosing Optaros is choosing OSS first. His answer: Optaros will work with any new OSS project, not just those in its catalog. And it will work on projects that coexist with Microsoft; it is “not religious.”
Marc has a lot of good points about future trends in OSS, including an intersection with my key mantra, that OSS applications are the key to continued success for the movement. We will try to get him on a future podcast so you can hear him directly.