Dancing with Elephants – Part III:

While putting some finishing touches on my presentation for tomorrow: Dancing with Elephants – Dealing with open source projects, I came across a posting from the Joel on Software Forums titled “Well-considered use of libraries within a software project” and laughed to myself.

Variations and aspects of this idea have been floating around in my head and throughout the Internet for months if not years. It has just been in the last two months or so when I've been able see that all of these things are facets of the same problem.

Don't get me wrong. Open Source is fantastic. I spend most of my days working with, on, or for different Open Source Projects. But some organizations did not stop to consider why they are deploying applications and months or years have passed. Now we have an absurd number of Open Source applications that have had significant improvements, upgrades, security fixes, etc and most organizations don't have a clue what to do.

As IT Professionals, we have to stop deploying and start thinking about a few things:

  • First, what are our criteria for choosing an application, library, or integration strategy?
  • Next, how do we ensure that we have the best solution for the problem?
  • Next, how do deploy the solution and how does it interact with other systems?
  • Finally, how do we support future modifications, upgrades, fixes, new requirements to the system?

These are simple questions, but a stunningly small number of organizations seem to have asked them…