IDG Contributor Network: What does ‘open’ mean to IT in the cloud era?

The term “open” when used in the IT context is an old and heavily used word. In an industry where new terms are introduced with incredible frequency, then age, and are discarded like napkins at a BBQ restaurant, the term “open” has surprising longevity. But what does “open” mean in the IT context? And why is it important to IT decision makers?

Dictionary.com offers a robust set of definitions for “open” as a verb, adjective and noun. For IT, I like number 5 under adjective – “relatively free of obstructions to sight, movement, or internal arrangement.” This fits with the most common uses in IT associated with open standards and open source software (OSS) – visibility and access to the creation, enhancement and maintenance of standards and software.

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