Open source is taking over the software world, survey says

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It's been only a few weeks since the Linux Foundation released its report that enterprise use of Linux continues to rise, but on Wednesday fresh data came out that suggests the same is true of open source software in general.

Specifically, Black Duck Software and North Bridge Venture Partners today announced the results of the seventh annual Future of Open Source Survey, which found that open source software has matured to such an extent that it now influences everything from innovation to collaboration among competitors to hiring practices.

"It's been recognized that software is eating the world,” said Michael Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners. “Our survey points to the fact that open source is eating the software world."

With more than 800 respondents from both vendor and non-vendor communities, the 2013 survey reflects the views of the largest sample in its history. It polled respondents about open source trends and opportunities, key drivers of open source adoption, community engagement, and the business problems open source will solve now and in the future.

Black Duck and North Bridge
Executives are increasingly willing to work with open source communities to spur innovation.

Cost falls to the background

Particularly striking about the results of this year's survey is the shift they reveal in why users choose open source software over proprietary alternatives.

Traditionally, it's been common to view price as a motivating factor, since open source software is often free. Last year, freedom from vendor lock-in was cited as the the primary goal.

This year, however, freedom from lock-in dropped to No. 2, while quality, which was in third place last year, was named the most important factor behind open source adoption. The availability of vendor support, meanwhile, is now a point of much less concern than it used to be.

Black Duck and North Bridge
Quality has emerged as the top motivating factor behind open source adoption.

Lower costs, big data, and systems integration are the top three business problems open source is solving, the report found. Sectors leading open source adoption include government, media and healthcare.

'We can expect more disruption'

Open source software is now driving change from the bottom up, thanks in large part to executives’ new willingness to work with active communities to influence projects and spur innovation, the survey found.

In fact, 61 percent of respondents said they see innovation as leading the technology industry forward, while 48 percent named collaborative partnerships. A full 57 percent of respondents said their companies will collaborate with competitors in industry-specific communities over the next three years.

“Increasingly, enterprises see [open source software] as leading innovation, delivering higher quality, and driving growth rather than being just a free or low-cost alternative,” Skok noted. “Going forward, we can expect more disruption from open source, new business models, and many more exciting new projects and companies."

A summary of the report is available on

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