05 Nov Openly Confused: Misys Seeks the Source
Confused (kən-fyūzd‘) n.
- Being unable to think with clarity or act with understanding and intelligence.
- Lacking logical order or sense; chaotic or jumbled:
I read with amusement the recent announcement by Misys on how they are “Leading the Industry with Bold Open Source Move.” On first pass, this is a great announcement and the fruition of many people who for many years have been laboring to increase awareness of the potential of open source within the health industry. The announcement was accompanied by the requisite and appropriate platitudes regarding how open source can increase interoperability, enable greater collaboration, and ultimately save the world. I particularly enjoyed the comments from Newt Gingerich (whats the monthly retainer?), Ron Hovsepian (Novell as the ultimate open source sellout), and Adam Gale (from the bastian of impartiality KLAS).
However, a thoroughly review of the announcement reveals the perverse attempt by Misys to land grab on the momentum and marketing behind open source. A deeper review of the press release shows the absolute confusion and gross lack of understanding of Misys regarding Open Source.
Lets talk a look:
- October 24, 2007. Misys makes the “Hey Look Everybody, We are Open Source” Announcement. That is so 2001.
- Bold Move. There is no braver move than releasing software that has no market adoption. Congressional Medals of Honors all around, please.
- No Code. No source code is released or announced as part of the announcement. What?
- Lame software. The software purported to be released has minimal market adoption. If a tree falls in the forest, does it make any sound?
- No Community. If you release lame code in the wild, does anyone care? Hey Misys – open source is all about community!”
I have written at length about the values of open source previously – Meritocracy, Legitimacy, and Transparency. In this case, Misys fails on all three fronts. Give them some props for even associating with open source, but to make this announcement with no code, no community, and no coherent plan is silly. This desperation move was noted for what it is by Steve Lohr of the New York Times in his Open Software or Forklifts? article. He discussed the potential role of open source, and how this move by Misys was quickly discounted by industry analysts.
Releasing source code is irrelevant, particularly if it is not associated with an underlying development approach and business philosophy. Steve highlighted this point by discussing what Athena Health is doing by leveraging open source to solve real business problems (and in their case it is to deal with over 5,000 pounds of paper per week from their network of physicians). The magic is not in the code, it is in the commitment to the values that will allow the collective intelligence to produce something far better than could be produced otherwise. Without those elements in place, it is “[bits and bites] in the wind.”
Bottom line: Misys welcome to the party! Unfortunately, looks like you are a little confused regarding the timing – it began 25 years ago.