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There's an old and tired theory that open source solutions in enterprise are risky because there's no "single throat to choke" if things go wrong. It's time to retire that worn out idea.

The process goes something like this: The IT department gets into a discussion with the big bosses about how switching over to Linux will save the company thousands of dollars. They explain how easy it is to replace all the office's applications with open source software from several vendors instead of buying new licenses to upgrade the existing commercial software.

The conversation goes great until someone points out that, in the event something goes wrong, there's no one vendor accountable for the problem. Suddenly the lack of a "single throat to choke" during a crisis worries the bosses, who pull the plug on the whole idea of using open source solutions.

It's an understandable knee-jerk reaction, but it's also an over-reaction.

These days, there's a virtual stampede of vendors who are more than happy to offer up their throat to any business willing to buy a contract. Take Oracle, for example. They're happy to be held responsible for your entire stack. Running Novell's SUSE Linux alongside Windows? Buy a support voucher. Let's not forget, too, the robust FOSS community-at-large that serves as a great resource for troubleshooting maintenance issues.

It's time to stop relying on the lack of accountability as a reason to shy away from using open source software in the workplace. More support options exist now than ever before so the idea of needing a "single throat to choke" hovers dangerously close to simply spreading FUD.

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