Commercial Software Will Include Open Source, Gartner Says

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-09-19 Print this article Print

IT organizations will have to manage open-source software along with commercial software, Gartner says.

LAS VEGAS—At least 80 percent of all commercial software products will include elements of open-source code by 2010, according to Mark Driver, vice president of research at Gartner. In his opening keynote at the third annual Gartner Open Source Summit here Sept. 19, titled "The Gartner Open Source Scenario for 2007: The risks and rewards for mainstream IT," Driver said the research firm believes "open source is defined by the license, period. Almost all of our customers are scrambling to create an open-source policy, as almost none of them have one as yet." The days of "skunk works," or secret open-source software adoptions, are over, and open-source software now has to be managed in tandem with existing enterprise software asset management strategies, he said.
"It also changes the rules of the game, but does not introduce an entirely new game. Corporate rules of engagement policy needs to be established for open-source software, which clearly cannot be ignored anymore," Driver said.
Red Hat CEO Matt Szulik has said open source is now legitimate. Click here to read more. According to Driver, open-source software is now in its third wave, which is a phase of leverage as it is really good enough to use, provides alternatives throughout the stack, and is becoming far more pragmatic than idealistic. "Open source is not being hijacked; it is evolving along with the rest of the software industry," he said. This leveraged third phase followed the first wave, which revolved around emotion, interest and indifference, and the second phase, which was one of realism, he said. Driver also addressed the controversial issue of fragmentation head-on, saying that it was not a bad thing or a weakness of open source, but rather one of its brutal realities. The biology of open source is that of natural selection, where weaker competing variations are weeded out, while specialization is encouraged so that variations can co-exist, he said. "Fragmentation, or the threat of fragmentation, is a feature of open source, not a threat. It keeps the industry competitive, as vendors know that if they screw up and do not meet the needs of their users, they will be weeded out and replaced," he said. Click here to read why Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth said Microsoft is fracturing the open-source community. Open source also does not guarantee a higher quality of code or better total cost of ownership than proprietary or internally developed software, Driver said. "If you think it will, you will be sorely disappointed, as that is not always the case. Some open software is better, and some is not," he said. Page 2: Gartner: Most Commercial Software Will Include Open Source

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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