[Python-uk] Open Source questionnaire
Thu, 09 Dec 1999 22:24:04 GMT
Allow me to be responsible for the first spam in this mailing list...
Those of you at the first London meeting kindly helped my wife Alisa
review a questionnaire. She's doing an MBA, and her final
dissertation is one when it is a good strategy for software small
vendors to go Open Source. As part of this, we are trying to get
corporate IT managers to answer some questions and find out how they
feel about Open Source and the related support issues. (It should be
useful research for anyone trying to pitch Open Source packages to
their companies as well, and is not unrelated to plans of my own for a
If you think this description applies to you, or to your boss and you
can twist their arm to answer, we would be most grateful for any
replies you can generate. Answers from individual Python lovers are
not really needed, since we know exactly what you'll say anyway - we
want to know what the "men in suits" are thinking!
Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting the text below.
Andy (and Alisa) Robinson
Thank you for agreeing to take part in this questionnaire.
The attached questionnaire is part of my final year dissertation for a
Masters in Business Administration. The dissertation aims to
establish whether the recent Open Source phenomenon is a suitable
business model for a new software company selling applications
software to corporate customers. In other words, can the software
vendor ultimately build a more successful business by giving the
software away than by selling it?
You should assume that the software product in question is a
potentially key piece of the back office infrastructure, offering some
significant new features or benefits over the competitions, yet which
requires customisation and development - for example, a new database
engine, or a software library for generating reports.
The questionnaire aims to answer two key questions
(a) to what extent are customers swayed by the arguments in favour
of Open Source software, and thus ready to try it?
(b) if so, would some customers actually pay when they have the
option not to? and what factors would be critical to the vendors
success in generating revenue?
In all of the questions below, please give your own opinions, but also
try to indicate how you feel the rest of the organisation feels on
this issue. For example, if an IT Director or board is involved in
any decisions, indicate how you think they would feel about the issues
below. I welcome followup questions, and relevant stories from your
Please reply quoting the questions, with your comments underneath
each. My apologies for all of the capital letters - mailers vary, and
this make it much easier to distinguish the questions from the answers
in replies. A more readable copy is available at=20
Thank you very much again for your cooperation!
--------------- OPEN SOURCE CONSUMERS' QUESTIONNAIRE------------------
A - THE OPEN SOURCE MODEL
THIS SECTION AIMS TO FIND OUT THE RECEPTIVENESS OF YOUR ORGANISATION
TO OPEN SOURCE PRODUCTS.=20
1. ARE YOU USING OPEN SOURCE PRODUCTS SUCH AS LINUX, APACHE,
PERL, SENDMAIL OR PYTHON? IF SO, PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR SUPPORT
ARRANGEMENTS FOR THESE PRODUCTS.
2. DOES AN OPEN SOURCE DEVELOPMENT MODEL LEAD TO HIGHER SOFTWARE
QUALITY? IF SO, PLEASE COMMENT
3. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT OPEN SOURCE PRODUCTS CAN DEVELOP NEW
=46EATURES FASTER THAN PROPRIETARY RIVALS?
4. DO YOU PREFER YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE VENDOR TO BE A
STRAIGHT PURCHASE FOR A DEFINED SET OF FEATURES, OR A CONTINUAL
COLLABORATION AND EXCHANGE OF VALUE OVER TIME BASED ON SERVICE,
SUPPORT AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT?
5. IS IT IMPORTANT TO AVOID BECOMING A PRISONER OF A VENDOR, SO
THAT YOU COULD GO ELSEWHERE FOR SUPPORT IF THEIR FEES BECAME
EXCESSIVE, OR SURVIVE THEIR FINANCIAL COLLAPSE?
6. DO YOU FIND EXISTING SOFTWARE LICENSES RESTRICTIVE IN ANY WAY
THAT HINDERS YOUR BUSINESS (APART FROM THE OBVIOUS ONE OF HAVING TO
PAY FOR EACH COPY)? IF SO, GIVE SOME EXAMPLES AND EXPLAIN WHY.
7. HOW IMPORTANT ARE THE FOLLOWING RESOURCES IN EVALUATING A
* A SINGLE CHIEF ARCHITECT (OR SMALL TEAM) WITH A CLEAR VISION FOR THE
* A COMPANY WHICH STANDS BEHIND THE PRODUCT AND STANDS TO PROFIT IF IT
* A VENDOR WHICH IS STILL GOING TO BE AROUND IN FIVE YEARS' TIME
* AVAILABILITY OF SUPPORT CONTRACTS
* BOOKS AND PUBLISHED DOCUMENTATION?
* LIVELY NEWSGROUPS AND MAILING LISTS FOR SUPPORT?
* TRAINING COURSES
* AVAILABILITY OF SKILLED CONSULTANTS OR CONTRACTORS ABLE TO WORK WITH
* SUPPORT FROM MORE THAN ONE POTENTIAL VENDOR?
B - THE VENDOR'S VIEWPOINT
ASSUME THAT THE BASIC PRODUCT IS AVAILABLE FREE OF CHARGE, AND WITH
8. WOULD YOU DONATE MONEY, JOIN A CONSORTIUM OR A USER GROUP IN
ORDER TO SUPPORT A PRODUCT YOU VALUED?
9. WOULD YOU PAY FOR CONSULTING FROM THE VENDOR TO HELP GET YOU
UP AND RUNNING QUICKLY AND WITHOUT PROBLEMS?
10. WOULD YOU PAY FOR AN ONGOING SUPPORT AGREEMENT? IF SO, DO YOU
HAVE ANY OPINIONS ON HOW THIS SHOULD BE STRUCTURED?
11. WOULD YOU PAY FOR FORMAL TRAINING COURSES?
12. WOULD YOU BE COMFORTABLE WITH A FREE CORE PRODUCT, BUT PAYING
=46OR ACCESSORIES WHICH MADE IT MUCH EASIER TO USE OR WHICH ADDED
=46EATURES YOU WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE TO DEVELOP YOURSELF?
13. WOULD YOU PAY FOR PRODUCT CUSTOMIZATION AND ENHANCEMENTS (I.E.
ADDING FEATURES THAT YOU NEED)? IF SO, WOULD YOU RATHER THE ENHANCED
=46EATURES WERE GIVEN TO ALL USERS, OR KEPT PRIVATE TO YOURSELF?
14. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT TIME-LAGGED RELEASES, WHERE THE CORE
IS FREE, AND NEW FEATURES ARE MADE AVAILABLE ON A COMMERCIAL BASIS FOR
A TIME (E.G. 1 YEAR), THEN RELEASED AS OPEN SOURCE AT SOME FUTURE
C - BACKGROUND INFORMATION
17. WHAT DOES THE COMPANY DO?,
20. DESCRIBE RESPONSIBILITIES:
21. SCOPING: ESTABLISH WHAT ORGANISATIONAL UNIT WE ARE ASKING
22. SIZE OF SCOPE: HOW MANY PEOPLE, PCS OR SERVERS ARE WE
DISCUSSING IN THIS SCOPE? =20
23. DO YOU HAVE AN IT STRATEGY?
24. IF YES, IS IT COST-ORIENTED?
25. IF NO, WHAT IS IT?
26. HOW MUCH OF YOUR TOTAL IT BUDGET IS DESIGNATED FOR SOFTWARE
27. HOW IS THIS DIVIDED BETWEEN PRODUCT PURCHASE PRICE VERSUS
28. PURCHASING AUTHORITY: CAN YOU MAKE PURCHASING DECISIONS? IF
SO, UP TO WHAT VALUE? IF NOT, INDICATE BRIEFLY WHAT THE PROCESS IS
AND WHO IS INVOLVED IN A SIGNIFICANT NEW SYSTEM.