Insights from a "Future of Open Source" survey

Software is eating the world. And open source is eating the software world. Year over year, the usage of open source software is increasing. The current economical climate is further accelerating this growth, since open source has a number of added benefits over proprietary software.

Not long ago, open source adoption was slow due to a number of traditional barriers:

  • Not familiar with open source software: companies using proprietary software don't know of any open source alternatives.
  • Complexity of deployment: open source software is made up of a number of building blocks. It's a system of interlocking parts, all working together. To make the system perform efficiently, knowledge of all components involved is helpful.
  • Legal concerns about licensing: the number of licensing schemes can be confusing. 

This has changed. In the 7th annual "Future of Open Source" survey, 822 participants present their insights as to why they are adopting open source software. Here's the slide deck with more insights.

The key insight is that open source projects are more flexible, quicker to innovate and implement new technical capabilities and features. Government, healthcare and media are traditionally more process-heavy and slower to change. These sectors are now increasingly adopting open source, citing technical capabilities and features as most important. 35% of respondents believe government will be the biggets adopter of open source the coming 2-3 years.

These are the main factors when companies decide on which software to adopt:

  • Does it solve our problem?
  • How much does it cost us?
  • How secure is it?
  • Can we fix it ourselves when it breaks?

The first factor is a no brainer: proprietary as well as open source software solves business problems. The added value from open source comes from the next three factors. 45% of the respondents chose technical capabilities and features as most important, when choosing open source over proprietary software. 

Licensing of open source software can sometimes be complex, but most of the time the software is free. Your cost per user per year will be lower than with proprietary software.

Security problems can be solved faster since the source code is freely available. Dive into the code and fix the problem yourself, or get help from the community. 

And since the source code is available to anyone, there is no vendor lock-in. You can get data out of your systems and take it to another or a different service provider. You can choose to fix problems yourself, or you can get a support contract, which is the main business model of most commercial open source companies. Only 12% of respondents chose proprietary vendor support as an important decision factor.

Questions about open source alternatives for your own proprietary software? Let's talk!

Erica (communication)
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