Monday, December 29, 2008

Open source trends in 2009

Here's my pick of five trends in open source as we head into the new year. Let me know your thoughts.

There's been quite a few good posts recently on trends and observations around open source. Here's my quick take on five trends that I expect will become more significant in 2009.

More commercial open source
As Dave Rosenberg has deftly pointed out, open source has become more commercial with the traditional view that you could give away software and sell support now being supplanted. CIOs and CTOs are a pragmatic bunch, and they aren't going to pay for support just because vendors ask for it; they'll pay for things that add value to their operations. My personal view is that for any trend or technology to be sustainable, it needs to be commercial -- which leads to the next trend...

More experimentation with business models
While Red Hat has been successful with its enterprise subscription model, there are many variations in the industry. Companies like Alfresco, Pentaho, SugarCRM, and MySQL all have their own unique way of doing things. At MySQL, the core server is completely open source, but there are additional capabilities delivered as part of the subscription. Others, like Pentaho and SugarCRM, have closed source features in their enterprise product. I believe there will be more and more experimentation in business models in the next year as companies determine exactly what provides the right incentive or add value for users to become paying customers.

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