Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Portals vs Aggregators

I was thinking about this problem, how can one justify the time and investment on Portal technologies like PlumTree/ MS SharePoint when a simple RSS/ Atom based solution will do the same?


Prakash S
Sunday, September 28, 2003

Personally I never recommend a free solution when there is a commercial one that is better, or at least just a little better.


Because I want the people I work for to know that software costs money, and has value.

If I give them free solutions, in time, they will start thinking that software has no value, or should be free.

I write software for a living, and I don't want my clients to think that the software I write is less valuable.

Finding a commercial solution that is better than a free one is usually very easy.

Also, in case something happens, you are somewhat covered by the fact that you picked a good solution from a good vendor, and not some amateurish software.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

You are right - it's not good to lower our perceived value to our employers.

A solution, if you want to use free software, is to find a commercial vendor that sells that software and support for a fee.

This way, the CYA factor is also taken care of.

However, using commercial software is much better - that way, the money goes to the developers of the software, and not to some firm that just repackages software, like RedHat or others.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Oy veh.

RSS agregation can't be commercial software?

Read what he wrote, not what you think he wrote.

In any event, continuing to promote solutions which cost oodles more money and which don't necessarily get the job done instead of exploiting common technologies (such as RSS), isn't going to do much for your career prospects in the long run.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, September 28, 2003

If the free software is much better than the commercial software, I recommend it.

But if the commercial software is better than the free software, I recommend the commercial software regardless of the cost.

I my OSS hippy colleagues propose to recommend free software, I seek out and test commercial alternatives, and many times I convince them that the commercial alternatives are better.

I also try to educate them about OSS vs. commercial software, and why it's better for their career to recommend and use commercial software, instead of promoting OSS for free, and thus commoditizing software.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Prakash - Call up MS and ask for a 180 day evaluation of their software. Tell them you want to be convinced their product is better than the free alternatives and want to try it out. If it is successful, you will buy. They seem to be sensitive to this quagmire these days.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

sharepoint also does stuff like document versioning, publishing, search indexing, and easily integrates with all the other windows crud most businesses are already running. It has its own set of problems but I haven't found one single open source system that does all the same stuff.

Monday, September 29, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home