The old knock on open source software has always been the lack of a vendor to help customers get the product installed and up-and-running. Many IT managers have experienced this frustration first hand when they have downloaded and uncompressed an open source product but then had no idea how to proceed.
If only there were people or companies who could help with installation, configuration, and training?The good news is that such people and organizations exist, in fact they always have. The problem has always been finding and contracting them. Until now.
SourceForge.net, the well-known open source project hosting site (over 160,000 registered projects), is making available what it is calling SourceForge.net Marketplace. The newest destination under the SourceForge.net top-level domain is a place where people can make their services available to the approximately 1.7 million registered SourceForge.net users.
The idea of outsourcing technical work to resources found through the internet is nothing new. Sites such as Rent-A-Coder and oDesk are well established and growing.
What makes SourceForge.net Marketplace different is:
# It is devoted to the open source software movement
# It leverages the huge developer and user community within SourceForge.net
If you are thinking this sounds a lot like Red Hat's recently announced Exchange, you're not the only one. The primary difference is that the Red Hat Exchange is geared toward offering a specific set of open source business software from a shortlist of commercial vendors along with services and support.
A quick perusal of the CMS provider list lends credence to the oft-reported growth of open source content management solutions. Product related services, as of the writing of this article, include:
If you can't find the help you need, SourceForge.net also offers the ability to go to the forums and submit a request.
If you are looking to try an open source solution within your organization and you have budget but lack resources, the SourceForge.net Marketplace is worth a look.