What are good first projects if we're interested in starting to work with open source?
We usually recommend a bounded, non-mission-critical application. A new project with open source will not only face the issue referred to above (the learning curve associated with a new product), but also have to deal with the general learning curve of understanding this new type of software -- open source. In other words, beyond the specifics of product learning, there's organizational learning going on, as well. Because of this, we recommend that the organization select a project that is less critical and will offer a good learning opportunity. Internal Web applications, like information portals, are excellent first projects.
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