A blog for the enterprise open source community
Where open source was, and where it is nowJay Lyman, November 17, 2009 @ 3:15 pm ET
Over the years of my observation, coverage and participation in open source software, SourceForge (both the code repository site SourceForge.net and the corporation) has typically served as one key barometer of where things stood. However, this began to change a couple of years ago, when I wrote about how the resources for finding, understanding, assessing open source software were growing. Today, we see that the bulk of open source software — both code and communities — have nothing close to a single home or destination. Today we see that the SourceForge destination has given way to Google Code, GitHub, Eclipse, Codeplex, Wazi, individual forges for projects and vendors and other places where open source software and its communities conduct their business.
So it makes sense that SourceForge the corporation — formerly OSTG, formerly OSDN, formerly VA Software, formerly VA Linux Systems, formerly VA Research — is yet again changing its name. This time, it’s going with Geeknet. While I was sort of scratching my head at first, this also makes sense given the company, whatever you call it, is now focused less on the code and community, but more on reaching a market, in this case, a market of geeks. This is the post-Ohloh company that is now perhaps accepting that its ThinkGeek e-commerce property holds more opportunity than a code hosting service. In fact, the strong ThinkGeek property and new Geeknet name may also be indicative of a realization and departure from community focus given key community figures were recently cut by the company. We’ve also seen a steady decline in prominence for Geeknet’s Slashdot and other media sites, accompanied by tough times for online advertising. Given where open source software is today, not only in the enterprise, but increasingly across industries, devices and markets, it seems it has become difficult to impossible to house it all under one roof.
So where is all of that open source code and community? If we look at recent findings from Black Duck Software, we see that the answer is, basically everywhere. In a survey of 175 customers using open source software over the last 18 months (a variety of customers and applications in mobile, digital media, social media, financial services and enterprise software), Black Duck found that each project contained an average 22% open source software (average size of 700MB of code). Black Duck also estimated that 22% of open source software saved $26m per product or application — an idea we’ll be discussing in depth in a coming CAOS report on the cost benefits of open source software.
Although the fragmentation of open source software repositories and hosts may seem to present some challenges in finding and understanding open source software, we actually believe that the diversity and competition are driving greater collaboration and communication among developers and greater visibility and granular information about projects and developers for users and customers of open source software.
Comments (4) Categories: Software