Closing a chapter of open source

Open Enterprise draws to a successful end, but InfoWorld's in-depth open source coverage has just begun

By now you will have heard the news: InfoWorld has closed down its print edition and moved to a Web-only model. Over the coming weeks and months, InfoWorld will continue to evolve to take better advantage of the online medium. You can expect many changes -- some subtle, others less so. For example, this will be the last edition of Open Enterprise.

Two years ago I launched this column based on a simple premise: Open source and open standards are here to stay. Where other publications pontificated on what it would take for open source to be "ready for the enterprise," the basic assumption of this column was that enterprises were already taking advantage of open source software at every level of their IT infrastructures. Open source was a permanent part of the enterprise software landscape -- and, in fact, had been for years.

The challenge for IT managers, as I saw it, was to align the use of open source software with the larger enterprise IT strategy. Open code, in and of itself, is not reason enough to commit to a piece of software for a mission-critical task. There are countless other factors to consider, from licensing and legal issues to interoperability and availability of support.

Each week in this column, I sought out and explored the topics that were foremost in the minds of enterprise IT managers considering deploying open source software. My goal was not to be a cheerleader for open source -- as I've said from the beginning, it doesn't need one -- but rather to delve into the issues and present them in ways that would help IT managers make decisions with confidence.

So why end it now? Simply put, the discussion around open source has grown far beyond the ability of a weekly column to encapsulate it all.

The intervening years have only served to validate the original concept of Open Enterprise. Open source now casts a long shadow in enterprise IT, indeed. It's no longer confined to Web servers, middleware, and server-room infrastructure. Today it has a place in enterprise applications, and it's poised to make a serious bid for the desktop.

That's why, given InfoWorld's new online focus, it only seems fitting to set the topic free. The end of Open Enterprise doesn't mean InfoWorld is stepping back from its coverage of open source and open standards. Far from it. If anything, over the coming months you can expect to see InfoWorld's growing roster of contributors explore the world of free software, collaborative development, and open standards with increasing vigor.

For starters, if you're not reading Matt Asay and Dave Rosenberg's Open Sources blog here at InfoWorld.com, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Matt and Dave are both knee-deep in the open source software industry, serving key roles at Alfresco and MuleSource, respectively. Once you get a dose of their insightful daily commentary, I'm sure they'll become a mainstay of your RSS reader.

And InfoWorld's coverage won't stop there. We've ramped up our news beat to pay special attention to breaking stories from the world of open source, and you can expect to see coverage that other venues can't match -- not just on a weekly basis, but every day. What's more, with the Open Source Business Conference now under the umbrella of InfoWorld's mega-successful events group, the open source community will have opportunities to interact with InfoWorld's editors and experts like never before.

It's been a good two years, and I've appreciated all the feedback and interactions with InfoWorld's audience -- surely the best and brightest in the field of enterprise IT. Now, get ready for the next phase of InfoWorld's history. It's going to be a banner year for open source.

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