At the recent office 2.0 conference I had the good fortune to listen to a panel on which Doug Harr of Ingres spoke. I’ve swapped a couple of emails with Doug and came across a post on his blog where he discusses Open Source software and whether or not it is in fact free.
Ingres has developed the majority of their customer facing applications using pen Source tools and utilities – so by definition they’re a believer in the concept of Open Source – the community development and agility that goes with it. However Ingres does not consider itself a user of free software – it invests in paid deployment, support and maintenance services that go along with the OpenSource software they use.
Doug calls for a change in naming – rather than calling OpenSource software "free" we should call it "complimentary" – where the software itself comes without a charge – but the add on services can be purchased.
As Doug so rightly points out;
We want resources behind the solution who we can call at 2 am if that application is mission critical or even subject to at least 95.95% availability