Tapping the developer community
Along with the user base is a substantial community of developers who can all produce enhancements and extensions to the product under the open-source license. "This enables them to participate in the market and enables you to grow your solutions for your customers, but its not all dependent" on your companys efforts, he said.Furthermore, the enterprise applications market is a rich and inviting one for open-source developments, Augustin said.For example, the ERP market is expected to grow to $25 billion by 2007, while VOIP is going expected to grow to $6 billion by 2008, he said. "This means you have an opportunity to build a really large business," he said. As a result, open-source developers are going to compete with the established proprietary vendors for a growing share of these markets, Augustin said. Click here to read why Sun Microsystems believes its good business to become an open-source software supporter. Open-source vendors will have an advantage because it will be easy for them to develop on a cost effective basis for SMBs (small and midsize businesses). While SMBs are hard-pressed to afford the big and expensive proprietary enterprise applications, they will find open-source software to be much more affordable. While open source will pose more of a competitive challenge to proprietary enterprise application software, it will always coexist with the established corporate, said Stephen Walli, vice president of open source development strategy with Optaros Inc., a newly established open-source consulting and system integration company based in Cambridge, Mass. For example, the MySQL database has grown by coexisting with large database installations. But nobody seriously believes that MySQL will supplant many large, established Oracle installations, he said. However, there is no question that there is a major new opportunity for the development of open-source enterprise applications, and that is one of the key reasons why Wallis company, Optaros, was organized last year. However, David Goossen, director of legal affairs with Rogue Wave Software, a provider of software and services to create service-oriented architecture applications in Boulder, Colo., questioned whether open-source software was going to grow at the rate Augustin predicted. He said he thought it was doubtful that significant open-source application acquisitions were on the agenda of most enterprises these days. However, he said he came to the conference to learn more about open-source software and how the market was developing. "It did intrigue me enough" to take a look at what was in the market, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.