Quite often there is a fear that surrounds open source tools and frameworks. For most shops the deciding factor against open source software is the apparent "risk" that is associated with a framework/tool that is not attached to any business entity.
In this post I want to share an interaction that occurred this last weekend to show you that the open source ecosystem is alive and very healthy. And while I won't go so far as to say the "risk" doesn't exist (you have to come to that conclusion on your time when your own fears are allayed) I do hope that this post puts some of those fears to rest.
Saturday morning before I went off to work there was a question posted to the RhinoMocks mailing list (for those who don't know RhinoMocks is an open source mocking framework). Before the end of the day the problem was resolved to a satisfactory conclusion. The "solution" (I put in quotes because there appears to be a bug but at least now we know there is a bug...hence "solution"). The result is not as important as the events that transpired to reach that conclusion below is the timeline.
12:22 AM - Kenneth posts the problem he is encountering
6:53 AM - I respond on the mailing list back to Kenneth with my findings and let him know that I will get some experts in DynamicProxy involved
6:56 AM - I enlisted the help of Krzysztof Kozmic on twitter (Krzysztof is a committer on DynamicProxy by Castle as has a great tutorial series on Dynamic Proxy)
8:38 AM - Fellow Devlicious blogger Tuna Toksoz (also a committer on the Castle project) hopped on the case and reported his findings
9:22 AM - Krzysztof responds to Tuna's findings reporting back on the root cause
10:23 AM - Kenneth reported back with feedback of Tuna's fix
Ultimately, as I mentioned earlier the fix was that it was found that RhinoMocks "relies on the buggy behavior, hence the error" (Krzysztof's words). Again the result here isn't what is important but rather the journey. Often people fear the support ecosystem around open source software but the exchange above and the players involved should give you some bit of confidence in the support of open source. It is worth pointing out that all of this happened on a Saturday, something you'd pay a premium for in a closed source model.
Whatever your roll in the software world is, one aspect you have to consider when choosing any solution is risk. The traditional thought has been that with commercial software the support would be better when backed by a reputable name. I think the exchange showcased above demonstrates that support for open source software can compete (and potentially surpass) support that any commercial piece of software could offer. Keep that in mind the next time you are evaluating commercial software versus open source software.
06-29-2009 10:18 PM