Open Source Choices - InformationWeek
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2/16/2010
05:35 PM
Seth Grimes
Seth Grimes
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Open Source Choices

Open source was Best Supporting Actor in the 2010 Editors' Choice Awards. It plays an important part -- in some cases, a star turn -- for 4 of The Dozen top-category winners and for 11 of the 36 Ones to Watch. Noting that the awards reflect both current impact and our expectations, clearly open source has reached a new level of enterprise importance and promise.

Open source was Best Supporting Actor in the 2010 Intelligent Enterprise Editors' Choice Awards. It plays an important part -- in some cases, a star turn -- for four of The Dozen top-category winners and for eleven of the thirty-six Ones to Watch. Noting that the awards reflect both current impact and our expectations -- all forty-eight awardees, really, are "ones to watch" -- clearly, in our estimation, open source has reached a new level of enterprise importance and promise.

I had pushed Intelligent Enterprise Editor Doug Henschen to recognize open source projects and vendors in the 2010 Editors' Choice Awards, and I'm happy he did, naming Apache to The Dozen and tapping the Eclipse Foundation and the R project as Ones to Watch. The latter award also went to Actuate, Cloudera, Infobright, Jaspersoft, Nuxeo, and Talend, companies that develop and commercialize significant open source packages. I'll add that awardees Aster Data, Greenplum, and Netezza based their analytical DBMS products on open-source PostgreSQL, and Cloudera even more directly builds on Apache Hadoop, which effectively makes Apache a double winner. By the same measure, IBM, which created and spun off Eclipse, also this year earns double recognition. Finally, Information Builders and Oracle are both strong open-source contributors, IBI as developers of RStat and Oracle as the benevolent-but-suspicion-inducing owner of the MySQL and the Berkeley DB database management systems, author of a Linux distribution, and inherited patron of Java.Our Editors' Choice roster is not static, however. Three open-source/core-open vendors that we recognized in 2009, EnterpriseDB, Pentaho, and SugarCRM, slipped off our list, as did quite a few closed-source vendors. It's not that they're no longer worthy companies. Simply put, the domains that are IE's chief concern -- business intelligence, enterprise applications, and information, process, and performance management -- are continually evolving.

Totting up the Editors' Choice Awards numbers, open source advanced from 2009's eleven of forty-eight to 2010's fifteen. What explains, and what inferences can we draw from, this advance of open source as recognized by Intelligent Enterprise? My top three points are as follows:

  • Apache and Eclipse provide toolkits, frameworks, and platforms for development of enterprise-class software. Apache and Eclipse -- and PostgreSQL and MySQL -- lower entry barriers including development cost and they speed time-to-market for commercial entrants.
  • Recasting the previous point: Enterprise value isn't determined only by directly realized revenue, for solution providers or for users.
  • Open source both competes directly with and complements closed source at an enterprise scale.
I'll add that I expect to see open-source interoperability that is now nascent at several of The Dozen -- notably SAS and Teradata -- play a much larger role at those companies in the coming years... even if OS seems to be losing ground at others such as Microsoft.

There's really nothing new in my points, just a reaffirmation and extension of common knowledge regarding the value open source. Intelligent Enterprise clearly sees open source as delivering ever increasing value for enterprise information management and applications. 2011 should be no exception.Open source was Best Supporting Actor in the 2010 Editors' Choice Awards. It plays an important part -- in some cases, a star turn -- for 4 of The Dozen top-category winners and for 11 of the 36 Ones to Watch. Noting that the awards reflect both current impact and our expectations, clearly open source has reached a new level of enterprise importance and promise.

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