We believe that openness is the right principle how to create and maintain quality software with reasonable costs. From the end user point of view both the result and the overall adoption process provide better results as compared to a closed-source software. The reasons include:
The overall situation on software market is quite desperate. Many commercial companies use approach that benefits their pockets. It can be summarized as "we sell you broken software, you pay us ransom to fix it". As software is provided "AS IS" and comes with "no warranties, expressed or implied" it is, in fact, a very profitable tactics. The customers accept this approach as there are very few alternatives. Or, better to say, there were very few alternatives until quite recently. The times are changing.
We are giving you a software comparable to a commercial closed-source software. But we are giving it to you at the cost that all current software is really worth: zero, nada, nix. We believe that the money should be charged only where the value is. Therefore we will not charge money for generic software that costs next to nothing to download, software that brings minimal value when used out-of-the-box, software that comes with "no guarantees, including, but not limited to, the guarantee of usability". The real value is created when a software is deployed and maintained in operational state. Therefore it is the deployment, advice and support services that bring the real value not the software itself. These are the things worth paying for.
Unlike closed-source companies, we are not afraid to show our source code to anyone. We know very well than no source code can be made perfect. By showing the code to the public we actually hope that people will have a look and see the problems in the code. We hope that they will point out the problematic parts before they cause any real harm. We want people to see what they are using to set the expectations right. The key to every successful technology deployment is to know the limits of the technology, not the questionable features presented on flashy slides.
Our software, exactly as any other software, it has its limits. We are openly displaying the limits, including all the skeletons in our closets. Most of the problematic parts we know of are even openly documented in the source code. We are not hiding anything. This may be a short-term market disadvantage, but we actually don't care about that too much. We are more than sure that openness is a long-term market advantage.
All software maintained by Evolveum is open in following aspects:
Recent experience clearly indicates that open-source software may provide better protection of investment than a commercial closed-source software. OpenSSO was a popular identity management product developed by Sun Microsystem as an open-source project. After acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle, the product was discontinued. As there was still demand for OpenSSO an independent company took over the open-source development project and the product lives on. Investments of the customers that would otherwise be lost were preserved. Exiting OpenSSO customers avoided very costly migration to an incompatible product. That was possible only because the product was developed as an open-source project.
The market clearly shows that where is demand, there is also an offer. Use of open-source avoids vendor lock-in situations. It also encourages competition, which brings better prices for software-related services. Software vendor no longer has a monopoly on consultation and support services related to his product, because it is in fact no longer just "his" product. An ecosystem usually evolves around a successful open-source products that provides a better guarantee of reasonable pricing and quality.