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One Last Prediction: Open Source is Going Mainstream

Research firm Gartner made a bunch of tech predictions that IT folks should be aware of, and get ready for. Among the most interesting one: Open source is hitting the big time.
Research firm Gartner made a bunch of tech predictions that IT folks should be aware of, and get ready for. Among the most interesting one: Open source is hitting the big time.The Gartner predictions highlight areas where IT managers can start taking action now. As the firm's release notes, "The full impact of these trends may not appear this year, but executives need to act now so that they can exploit the trends for their competitive advantage."

Among the predictions are some that are not so surprising -- "By 2011, Apple will double its U.S. and Western Europe unit market share in Computers" and by 2012, "50 per cent of traveling workers will leave their notebooks at home in favour of other devices" -- and others that many could see coming down the pike -- by 2012, "at least one-third of business application software spending will be as service subscription instead of as product license."

But its prediction for open source is important for all tech decision makers: "By 2012, 80 per cent of all commercial software will include elements of open-source technology. Many open-source technologies are mature, stable and well supported. They provide significant opportunities for vendors and users to lower their total cost of ownership and increase returns on investment. Ignoring this will put companies at a serious competitive disadvantage. Embedded open source strategies will become the minimal level of investment that most large software vendors will find necessary to maintain competitive advantages during the next five years."

CNET blogger Matt Asay also found the open source prediction interesting. He writes: "Let's be clear. We're talking about Microsoft Windows...Oracle databases...SAP's ERP suite...and so on. Many of these companies already embed open source in their products but don't like to admit it (in Microsoft's case) or make noise about it. Market pressures will force them to stop pretending to be the source of all innovation and to "outsource" ever-growing amounts of their R&D resources to mining the best open source has to offer."

The study highlights what many smaller companies already know: that incorporating open source applications into their IT shops can save them money, increase their creativity, and provide them with more control. And it is smaller companies that have the inherent flexibility to more easily adapt to open source solutions. Many smaller companies have already discovered the virtues of an open source-based IT shop.

Have you?

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