Most recently, I profiled LinkedIn and its efforts to build and engage open source communities. LinkedIn's vice president of engineering Igor Perisic told me, "Successful open source projects require a significant investment of time to develop, monitor, and nurture ... but I believe that they often pay you back this investment many times over." That payback comes in the form of higher employee satisfaction/retention, as well as accelerated innovation.
It takes work, however, and too many IT decision makers either overlook or, conversely, underappreciate open source. To truly benefit from all this code that increasingly powers every enterprise, you need more than a free download.
CIOs need to look at open source from a strategic standpoint. That means listening to developers on staff to determine which projects have something essential to offer -- and which are leading in technology development. When CIOs understand which projects are hot and for what reason, they can help determine the communities where developers should participate and give back.
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