The free software reached, sometimes since several years, a degree of maturity proven in multiple fields. In order to meet the needs for its customers who wish to profit from the assets brought by the Free one, aim of supporting and of making safe the introduction of the free software within the information systems:
Installation as of the end 2001, of a center of competences dedicated to the free software, whose vocation is in particular to maintain an expertise strong on the open components source, and to capitalize our experience feedbacks of implementation of the free software in the great projects of integration of systems which we carry out.
Formalization of a methodology – QSOS – allowing a structured and rational analysis, which leads to an objective and argued evaluation of the free software
Cover of the whole of the cycle of life, since missions of council upstream (opportunity study of implementation of the free software, contributes to the choice of the components, technological survey), until the implementation of the adopted solutions
Support on the free software (assistance, correction of the anomalies) with contractual engagements of results (times of resolution guaranteed for the open components source criticize)
Corrective and evolutionary maintenance of the open components source, with transfer at the Communities in the respect of the spirit of the Free one.
Lastly, it should be noted that our work is tinted of no dogmatism "open pro source". Our recommendations are only guided by the research of the optimal solution taking into account the needs and the context (technical but also human) for our customers. Indeed, we also lay out, within Atos Origin, of competences and experience feedbacks on the majority of the solutions owners of the market. This double expertise allows us, in the phases upstream of council and assistance to the choice, to bring an enlightened and objective opinion.
Free software: benefit and stakes
The benefit which one can withdraw, in general, of the use of the free software are from now on well-known:
Capital cost reduced (exemption from payment or low cost of the software)
Independence with respect to an editor
Evolutions controlled by the community of the users
Moreover, the free software is often characterized by the reliability and the quality of their code, like their conformity with the standards and a good interworking.
Lastly, the availability of the source code facilitates the development of new functionalities, the adaptation to the technical context, or the correction of the anomalies.
In spite of these assets, the adoption of the free software is sometimes slowed down by several factors:
Difficulties of choice (in certain fields, there are multiple open implementations source)
Complexity, in certain cases, to evaluate in an exhaustive way and objectifies the advisability of resorting to open solutions source instead of solutions owners
Difficulty in evaluating perenniality, the robustness, the performances of an open solution source because of the difficulty sometimes of obtaining sufficiently reliable and precise information of the community or others utilisateurs.
Lastly, since one plans to deploy on a large scale of the solutions based on the free software, the question of obtaining contractual engagements about the quality of this software arises and of profiting from support in the event of incident – services usually obtained from the editor when a solution owner is chosen.