Every once in a while, I get a call from a CIO who says “my team is looking at your software. We like it and it works well, but I’m a little concerned about going with open source.”
The first thing I tell them is that open source approaches to software development and distribution can take many forms. At Aras, we draw on what we think are the best elements of traditional open source development and adapt them to work for commercial enterprises. We call it enterprise open source.
While all of the open source PLM solutions are available on our Project site, the initial Aras Innovator download includes only software that is 100% written, tested and released by Aras. This ensures that there is no third-party product code involved, and we don’t use any other open source technologies either. We manage the roadmap, the architecture, the code, the test and release processes – everything - with the same type of discipline used by other major enterprise software providers.
The key difference with Aras is that you have the source, so your company can do whatever is needed; customize it, extend it - do what’s necessary to support your business. This is a big change from proprietary systems. You regain control of your own destiny.
And, we accept and encourage open source contributions back from users (contributing is completely optional), but before we incorporate these as part of the Aras-managed solutions we review, spec and re-write all the code. Why? Many reasons…
We need to maintain certain coding standards and patterns for enterprise security, architectural conformance, functional consistency, performance optimization and upgradeability. We’re also better able to ensure appropriate specifications and documentation. We add test automation hooks throughout the code, so that we can conduct automatic self-testing after each nightly build and as part of our release process. And when we rewrite it, we are ensuring that there are no licensing issues for Aras or our users. By doing all this we are providing companies with the confidence they need and the predictability they require.
We believe our approach gives the corporate community the best of both worlds - the freedom and flexibility you want in your PLM solution, with the security and control you need for your mission-critical enterprise applications.
Thu, Jul 8 2010 3:13 PM