Is Open Source good enough?

We run our group’s Portal on a leading commercial Portal Server. Since it is an internal portal, most of the development is done by people when they are not on projects (On Bench that is). This leads to too many issues. If someone has to work on one of these commercial portals (BEA, IBM etc), the client requirements are humongous. For example, BEA Workshop needs 1 GB of RAM on client desktops!! IBM’s WSAD also has similar requirements. I know one can use a low end IDE (Eclipse etc) but most of the tutorials and sample examples expect that the required client software is set up. I also feel that because of the fact that these products provide sophisticated features, it is even more difficult to create *simple* applications because the overhead of learning and getting up & running is too much. These products are just too complex for novice users!

I’m thinking of migrating our portal to an open source (OS) offering. One of the uses of this portal is that it is like a brand for our group (I work with Portals and Content Management group of a leading Indian SI) and we use this portal to give demos to clients. Hence i’m spending a lot of time to decide whether this is a right move. However, with OS offerings maturing and more & more clients themselves considering OS, this might be a right move. Plus, if we use an OS product that is standards based (like JSR 168), we can always migrate the portlets to another portal server if there is a specific client requirement.

Because of the features that we require and some other factors, I’ve short listed Jetspeed and Liferay. However, Jetspeed-1 is not standards (read JSR168) compliant and Jetspeed-2 is not available for download yet. That leaves me with Liferay. Its a good product but I’m not yet convinced that it can compete with the more sophisticated commercial products.

PS: Because of political reasons, we are limited to java based products.

3 thoughts on “Is Open Source good enough?”

  1. What do you think is missing is Liferay in comparison to its commercial counterparts? You can also have a look at eXo portal, it has strong support for standards.

  2. One main this that is missing is a strong development environment. For example, a novice user can build a full portal just by drag and drop in BEA portal.

    Another thing that is missing is a good documentation.

    I will look at eXo. Thanks for the link.

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