Open source on the rise, says IDC

According to a recent IDC survey based on over 5,000 developer interviews in 116 countries, open source is gaining momentum. The phenomenon extends well beyond the traditional Linux user groups and computer hobbyists. IDC comes to the conclusion that open source software ought to be viewed as the most significant all-encompassing and long-term trend that the software industry has seen since the early 1980s.

Presently open source products are used in three fourths of all organisations and there are several hundred thousand open source projects under development. IDC says that the pervasive influence of open source will ultimately impact the software industry on a large scale and that it will fundamentally change the value proposition of packaged software for customers. Open source products already begin to play a prominent role in the life-cycle of major software categories.

IDC’s research indicates that open source software is presently deployed by 71% of developers worldwide. 50% stated that the use of open source products in their organisations is growing. Finally, 54% of the surveyed organisations are themselves presently working on some type of open source product.

The study offers additional insights into the proliferation of open source software:

  • Throughout the coming decade, open source will take over a percentage in the low double digits of the software market and elicit fierce price competition

  • The effect of open source on the software life-cycle and on software innovation will outweigh the importance of price effects in the market

  • Three different business models will be vital for vendor success in the software industry: the software revenue model, the public collective model, and the service broker model

  • Core competencies different from the traditional software production and marketing will determine vendor success in markets dominated by open source software

Dr. Anthony Picardi, senior vice president of Global Software Research at IDC, explains: “Although open source will significantly reduce the industry opportunity over the next ten years, the real impact of open source is to sustain innovations in mature software markets, thus extending the useful life of software assets and saving customers money.”

Picradi concluded that “business requirements shift from acquiring new customers to sustaining existing ones, the competitive landscape will move towards costs savings and serving up sustaining innovations to savvy customers, along with providing mainstream software to new market segments that are willing to pay only a fraction of conventional software license fees. Open source software is ultimately a resource for sustaining innovators.”