Open Source vs. Open Source

I went to the monthly meeting of the Web Content Mavens last night. They were featuring a panel speaking on about 7 different Open Source Web Content Management systems. Some of the vendors present, like Alfresco, do more than web content, but web content was the focus. It was moderately interesting. I would have loved to see more interaction among the panelists, but it was good to hear their spin on what they each do best and to talk with them afterwards.

Before I say anything else, the highlight for me was when one of the panelist, a primary contributor to DotNetNuke, Antonio Chagoury, said,

You get what you pay for.

I thought that this was hilarious. This is the kind of thing you expect to hear from a proprietary vendor, not anyone involved in Open Source. To be fair, he was referring to the DotNetNuke Marketplace where you can buy modules to plug into DotNetNuke. His concern was that some of the module writers didn’t charge enough to be able to provide adequate support for users. Doesn’t make it any less entertaining with the context though. I expect to hear that sort of statement from the Documentum or Oracle sales person, but not an Open Source advocate.

Only a couple of interesting observations from the rest of the night. The vendors focused on how their product was great and was worth paying for the non-Community version. It felt very much like a mini sales pitch. Alfresco appeared pretty open and honest, which was a nice feeling.

The consultants that implement these systems, speaking as experts on one or more Open Source Web CMS, focused on picking the right tool for the right job. That is dead-on. There is a spot for almost every product when you factor in time, budget, knowledge, and functionality into the big equation. That is one of the things that Tony Byrne over at CMS Watch preaches consistently.

As always with these events, it was good to hear what other people are doing and to remind myself that there are a lot of small companies, and small budgets, out there that just need a place to put their stuff.