Open Source in MDM
Editor's Note: If MDM is on your mind, don't forget to attend ebizQ's upcoming roundtable discussion on MDM and SOA.
The open source software (OSS) community contributes the leading web
server to the market (the Apache HTTP project, as measured by
instances) and one of the fastest growing operating systems (although
this metric fluctuates between the Linux derivative of UNIX, OS/X and
Windows per quarterly IDC data, Linux has tended to claim the
distinction more quarters than not this decade). The community
has also made a contribution to social computing and other
personal-productivity and non-enterprise computing requirements.
More telling, in these functionality areas, the projects have tended
to spring from small true OSS community efforts rather than large
software companies that devote developers to the open source community
to save research and development expenses or smaller for-profit
companies that use OSS terms and conditions (Ts&Cs) as part of
their business model.
Master data management (MDM) is the exception that proves the rule. IT Investment Research
analysis can find very few small OSS communities working on MDM whereas
‘OSS market’ leaders Red Hat and Sun have major MDM
development efforts underway. (‘OSS market’ is in quotes
because close readers of my research will remember that I believe such
a market measurement is contrived.) A June 2008 survey found that the
up and comers in MDM are ignoring open source Ts&Cs in a way not
seen in any other software category including major application
categories such as ERP. The first movers in MDM—for
example, Amalto, Dataflux, IBM, Initiate Systems, Kalido, Microsoft,
Object River, Oracle, SAP, Siperian—are all choosing more
traditional Ts&Cs to both develop and market their products. It is
especially unusual in the software industry today that so few of the
startups and near startups are not embracing open source. Looking at it
from the community perspective, leading open source organizations such
as the Apache Software Foundation have no MDM-specific activity
underway (although some Apache projects may incorporate MDM).