It’s been awhile since I have posted. It has not necessarily been due to a lack of news on the open source fronts as things have been on fire over the last year it has been more related to my personal bandwidth. That being said I was particularly moved by an article I read recently. The resulting post is a combination of information from that article which I link to below and a good dash of my own rambling as you will see in comparison. It seems that Linux adoption by big business is up significantly over last year, which of course is wonderful news. In addition the article goes on to state that the open source software is driving things like innovation, collaboration, and developer methods among many other things. Of course living in “the cloud” these days, some of the major contributors have been open source projects like Apache, Tomcat, JBOSS, MySQL, MariaDB and PostgreSQL. Add to that the flood of quality content management systems like Joomla, Drupal, Liferay and too many others to name. In every avenue of software that can be thought of I have yet to find a commercial software solution without at least one open source project that provides some, all or more functionality over the commercial solution. In the end, all of these things coming together culminates in the “perfect storm” for open source software and that is how open source is taking over the market, by storm.
I think a few things have become clear and are beginning to resonate within big business regarding the use of open source software and they are as follows:
- Open source provides better software quality in most cases. This is due to the flexibility and support of a community of users working to code better software with less bugs and more features. In the case of commercial solutions most improvements and upgrades are on the back of the largest customer and their wallet. This is an unsustainable model, especially moving to the cloud.
- Freedom from vendor lock in. It used to be that hitching your star to Oracle, Microsoft, or insert other large commercial software company here was the only answer. Now in this age of contracted budgets and increased demands, brand loyalty for the sake of a logo on some slideware does not pay the bills or impress like it used to. Additionally, being stuck with a set of commercial vendors limits your abilities to their roadmaps and not to your business roadmap.
- Flexibility of and access to large software libraries. Certainly not going to see this with large commercial software solutions. They have their set languages and code bases that bound them in their design capabilities. With open source solutions you can mix and match. One good example of this is the standard web stack. How many open source projects can you name for web servers, web application servers, database servers, and supporting plugin languages? Certainly more than are reasonable to list in this article. Further, of those solutions in each category, how many of them can be used together with little to no recoding and limited configuration? Most of them I would be willing to guess. As the business owner or CTO this allows me to select from a smorgasbord of options that make sense for my company’s roadmap not that of the commercial software vendor.
- Finally it comes down to cost. Open source offers a much better alternative to multi-million dollar commercial software packages. This is why we see the “ASP or Cloud” providers enjoying the success they are currently. You have to provide solutions that make sense financially and $100 per user per month makes more sense than $10 million for a single solution + 20% yearly maintenance. It’s the perfect OPEX vs. CAPEX approach. CAPEX budgets have always been a tough sell with too many approvals to get them done quickly and in the end still ending up with something that will de-value over time. OPEX is a much easier sale it’s like paying the electric or phone bill. It’s a cost that just goes with doing business, requires far fewer approvals and in the end provides a service that takes the maintenance out of the customer’s hands freeing their budgets to grow while streamlining their operations and personnel.
My predictions align with those of the market regarding the growth of open source software. It is the foundation of what my business is built on and the reason OSCGP exists. We will continue to see rapid growth in the number of open source software projects, and increase in the quality of those projects and finally a mass exodus over the coming years from closed source commercial solutions to the open source software model. I would love to hear your predictions and thoughts as well.
Some information for this post taken from the article below:http://www.pcworld.com/article/2035651/open-source-is-taking-over-the-software-world-survey-says.html
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