in reply to
Continuous integration tools for perl
I usually make the following suggestions to clients: (And if it sounds like a sermon, it’s meant to.)
Establish what your work practices are, and/or what they need to become in the short run, and base your software acquisition decisions on the demonstrated ability of the software to conform to those selected practices, “action this day.” Don’t put the cart in front of the horse. Don’t let the software that you buy prompt you to shape your business practices to conform to it, i.e. “for no other simultaneous reason.”
“Open source,” per se, does not confer any business value unless that software is demonstrably well-supported by a well-funded foundation that, it can be shown, does support the product to a “commercial product” standard of quality. Software is not a kit. You have no warranty or other legal recourse. You don’t have the source-code so that you can “volunteer” to fix it. If the software has been written by a lone wolf, that person is eventually going to realize that he has to eat real food; not just Twinkies® and Jolt® Cola. (You don’t own the wolf, and can’t compel his or her behavior in any way, so you – and your entire business – are now screwed.) The roster of dependable open-source programs that are seriously worthy of business consideration is quite small: Perl (PHP, Ruby, etc.); MySQL; Linux. Very few others. Software that is released by a major corporation that retains an ongoing corporate interest in it, e.g. the Darwin® (OS/X) operating-system maintained by Apple, or the various endeavors that are championed and/or underwritten by IBM and the like, are obviously the same. “Open source” projects do not merely vanish due to bankruptcy or bad luck ... they can vanish because the author becomes bored.
Are there exceptions to Rule #2? Absolutely yes! And you must perform due-diligence to find them. Exactly as you would do for anything that you intended to buy. Be it well-spent. Enter these gates, if ye may, with deliberate purpose, and with thine eyes wide open.
The software that you use in your business, is not “your business.” It may be essential to your business, without which you cannot hope to make money (or even to perform your self-appointed tasks), and that software might be open-source (in which case your company has become a supporting stakeholder of the project ... and you must understand clearly what that means). “Your business” is defined as “what you make
money net-profit at.” Nothing more or less. Spend no more money than you have to spend in support of that business, of course, but never, ever, attempt to spend less. The consequences of error are merciless.