[Evangelism] Open Source Is Trending Towards Customer Obscurity

Nate Aune natea at jazkarta.com
Sat Dec 12 16:10:22 UTC 2009

On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 4:22 AM, Matt Hamilton <matth at netsight.co.uk> wrote:
> A really interesting piece on Open Source. From the shows we go to, I can
> already start to see this a bit and I think that we might want to bear the
> points in the article in mind with future plone.org/.net/etc work.
> http://blogs.gartner.com/brian_prentice/2009/12/09/open-source-is-trending-towards-customer-obscurity/

Matt - thanks for sending this link. I agree that most customers (at
least the ones I spoke with at Gilbane), don't really care whether a
CMS is open source or not. Really what they care about is the
longevity of the software, available support and does it do what I
need it to do. The fact that it's open source is just icing on the
cake, but they won't make their purchase decision solely based on

Think about it - if you are not a coder, the argument that you can see
and modify the source code doesn't really carry much weight. The idea
that a software package is supported by a community of developers
around the world also doesn't carry much weight, because if I'm
purchasing a CMS, I want one phone number to call when something goes
wrong and not have to rely on mailing lists and IRC to get my
questions answered.

Of course, this is where we direct them to plone.net (which btw is in
need of a design overhaul) to see the list of over 300 vendors in 60
countries who provide professional support services for Plone.

I'm just trying to frame this in the eyes of the decision-maker, so
that when we position Plone in the marketplace we keep these things in
mind. Open Source *is* a unique selling point, but not one I would
lead with when explaining what Plone is. "What can Plone do for me?"
should be the first question we must answer. Then after they've shown
interest in what Plone can do for them, we can get into the benefits
of open source software.

Brian also has a nice blog post about the caveats of COSS - Commerical
Open Source Software


Nate Aune - natea at jazkarta.com
+1 (617) 517-4953

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