A blog for the enterprise open source community
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Then what?Matthew Aslett, June 1, 2009 @ 10:20 am ET
Last week I asked the question, if open source has won, then where do we go from here?
A number of different answers were forthcoming to the two parts of the question from various blogs and Twitterers so I thought it was worth bringing them together in a follow-up post:
Has open source won?
I mentioned in my original post that declaring victory for the adoption of software licensing and development methodologies is futile and as James Dixon mentioned in a comment “You cannot say that open source has ‘won’ without defining what the battle was”.
Clearly open source has not ‘won’ in terms of adoption rates comparable with proprietary software. As Bruno Von Rotz points out, there is still some way to go in terms of open source competing fairly in terms of adoption.
However, like Matt Asay, I believe that a tipping point has been reached “in the sense that it has gone from being the pariah of software to the foundation or a critical element of virtually all software deployed today”.
That may not be the ‘victory’ that early open source supporters were hoping for – and some may see it as a Pyrrhic victory – but it is the way the market has panned out.
So where do we go from here?
“World domination,” stated Kris Buytaert, presumably not entirely seriously, while Tarus Balog maintained that what followed winning, according to Mohandas Gandhi, was “Profit!”
Matt Asay pointed out his belief that the next step lies in applying open source software principles beyond software, adding: “The larger issue is how to apply the principles of open source to other areas of technology and, indeed, beyond technology… it’s now time for the open-source community to start looking beyond simple licensing matters to make the benefits of open source available to the widest swath of humanity.”
Meanwhile Glyn Moody likewise suggested that thoughts should turn towards “open data, open access, open science, open government”.
Sticking with the software industry, however, Bruno Von Rotz also suggested that there is work to be done on the co-existence of proprietary and open source software.
Indeed, while open source is now an accepted part of the software development process for almost all vendors, questions remain about how and why open source should co-exist with proprietary software development and licensing strategies, and how the balance should be maintained. CAOS Theory will continue to seeks answers to these questions, and more.
In the meantime, as The Economist article that prompted the original question pointed out, a more immediate concern is the comparative openness of cloud computing platforms which, despite being built on open source software, pose the threat of platform lock-in.
Microsoft’s open source software strategy and community marketing manager, Robert Duffner, provided a similar answer. Between CAOS and our more cloud-focused colleagues at The 451 Group, that’s another area that we’ll continue to keep a very close eye on.
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