Fear vs anger as drivers in Open Source adoption

If one could measure these two conflicting emotions in CxOs, namely fear and anger, one could predict the adoption rate of open source.

Fear is a very basic emotion, fear of not having support for your crucial business applications is a considerable driving force. Fear of not having a job tomorrow because the master billing system might blow up. Fear that what you spent a fortune on today might be obsolete before it had a chance to make up for its cost. This fear keeps CIOs pegged to certain vendors often with good and valid reasons but as equally often irrationally.

As strange as it might seem, anger is the opposite of fear in this arena. Anger of support costs that reach highway robbery levels, like being charged by the CDR for billing software. Anger of not owning the software one paid for out right, but only the right to use. Anger that the multimillion software just blew up – hello London Stock Exchange. It goes on and on like this.

When anger becomes stronger than fear CxOs look for alternative routes; open source being the one. To give you an example consider database systems. Commercial databases are great products yet can be an overkill under certain conditions. Imagine now a company that has a number of small applications each with its own instance of a commercial grade DB. Now suppose that company suddenly decides to cut costs and sees the licensing fees of said DB engine, calculated by CPU clock and number of cores. It is easy to see that they would be angry for the money they pay for licenses and that they would overcome their fear of open source and start looking into alternatives such as mysql,postgresql etc. etc.

One could replay this see-saw of emotions into many anecdotal situations and even pepper it with side emotions such as desparation on one end or giddiness on the other end. Feel free to send me your favorite feelings.


One thought on “Fear vs anger as drivers in Open Source adoption

  1. Angelos Karageorgiou says:

    I love it when I am a few steps ahead of modern science. Please read http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/918/2

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