Cloud to drive OSS?

Open source stronger than ever, but faces challenges to maintain it: survey finds

Chris Mayer
OSS

‘The 2012 Future of Open Source’ survey reveals some interesting findings about where open source is at and where it’s going.

A survey conducted in collaboratively by Black Duck, the 451 Group and North Bridge Venture Partners has found that cloud, big data, mobile applications and enterprise mobility are where open source is making big leaps.

The Future of Open Source Survey 2012, (the 6th annual survey) was released yesterday, just in time for the huge launch of open source gathering, Open Source Business Conference, and has been recognised as a font for all things related to open source within the enterprise.

The most interesting point within the reams of data was that it appears that open source has reached the promised enterprise lands, with Black Duck CEO and President Tim Yeaton proclaiming that it’s interesting to look at how ‘OSS has achieved broad-scale Enterprise adoption’.

There were over 700 respondents this year (59% non-vendors compared to 41% vendors), with a third agreeing that open source deployment had permeated their workplace, accounting for over 75% of the total deployed. A further third said the amount was between 50-75%. That’s a phenomenal amount and suggests open source has reached a tipping point. What better way to enforce that than pure hard statistics – 600,000+ OSS projects, 100 billion lines of code and 10 million person-years are an indicator to tell you just how widespread it has become.

Futhermore, five years down the line, the survey found that over half of all software purchases will be OSS. According to the results, the driver for this high growth is from an increasing number of non-technical segments such as health care, automotive and government tuning into the profitability of OSS, as well as general stronger enterprise adoption. Broader adoption is exactly what we like to see.

As for why enterprises will turn to OSS, freedom from vendor lock-in, lower costs and quality were seen as the three main reasons. This is encouraging to see – the first two have long been associated with open source, yet quality has long been ignored until now. Are we reaching a point where enterprises are turning to an open component above a proprietary one, because it’s just better? It seems that way.

Yeaton added:

While there has been a never-ending debate regarding code quality, survey respondents were unequivocal: they view the quality of OSS as one of their top three reasons for adoption.

43% of vendors revealed that project maturity is a big factor within choice, which makes sense with more than a few projects having rock-solid terra-firma beneath their feet now. This was slightly higher (46%) for non-vendors.

Yet there’s still barriers to overcome. Nearly half (48%) noted that ‘unfamiliarity with open source solutions’ is still a problem, whilst just 1% less said a lack of technical skills internally was a factor.

Taking a glimpse into the crystal ball now, cloud accounts for 40% of new innovative projects compared to 19% for mobile apps and 15% for mobile enterprise. You’d expect there’d be a lot of crossover here with convergence high on the agenda moving forward.

To check out the rest of the survey, you’ll find the sllideshow here at Yeaton’s blogpost. It appears that open source solutions have reached the highest point of acclaim so far throughout the enterprise world, but will it plateau at some point? It doesn’t look likely with innovation rampant.

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