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Is open source data management software better than traditional tools?

What are your thoughts on using open source data management software compared to more traditional on-premise platforms? We're a medium-sized company, if that helps at all.

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Open source data management software has crossed the Rubicon in terms of adoption. It's no longer just for hackers and geeks (and I firmly put myself in the latter category): Major organizations (even within the U.S. government) have begun adopting different open source technologies. To get a better understanding of open source, check out my next book: The Next Wave of Technologies: Opportunities in Chaos.

Also, though, remember that "open" does not mean "free." Many vendor companies exist solely to support maintenance of open source applications, for a fee.

Don't be afraid of open source, but also don't get into trouble with your IT department. Make sure upfront that your organization's policies allow you to download and play with open source tools.

This was first published in March 2010

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