The absence of money is a big catalyst for innovation,
particularly around open-source solutions, Ubuntu founder Mark
SAN FRANCISCO-Experience has shown a
weakening U.S. economy would be good for open source, as a shortage
of cash is usually a major catalyst for innovation, particularly
around open-source applications, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu
Linux, said at the annual Open Source Business Conference
here March 25.
Roger Burkhardt, president and CEO of
open-source database firm Ingres, agreed, noting that as the economy slows,
budgets tighten and people have to do more with less
concurring was Zak Olaf, vice president of products at MySQL, who said the
lower cost of open source is part of its appeal in an economic climate such
as the current one.
They were all speaking on a panel titled "The Future of Open Source:
Exploring the Investments, Innovations, Applications, Opportunities and
Threats." They were also responding to the findings of North Bridge
Venture Partners' annual "Future of Open Source
" survey, which found that 81 percent
of respondents thought economic turbulence is good for open source.
The survey also found that lower acquisition and maintenance costs, access
to libraries of code, and freedom from vendor lock-in are the factors that make
open-source software most attractive.
"We are also now at the tipping point, where people are actually starting to
examine at what point and for what reasons they would now use proprietary
software. They are now looking for reasons to justify using proprietary
solutions rather than open-source ones," Shuttleworth said.
What can open source learn from Microsoft? Find out here.
The survey respondents also believe that in five years between 25 percent
and 50 percent of purchased software will be open source, and that another
open-source company with the stature of Red Hat will emerge in two years.
With regard to who will command the majority of commercial non-consulting
open-source revenue in 2012, some 35 percent of respondents said platform
vendors such as Oracle, Sun and SAP; just
over 20 percent said it will be conglomerates like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo;
18 percent said consortia working together on interoperability; and 15 percent said
pure platform plays such as Red Hat.
Software as a service will have the greatest impact on software delivery
and/or business models for operating system applications and middleware
vendors, some 50 percent of respondents believe, with about 25 percent saying
this will be virtualized infrastructure, more than 15 percent believing it will
be cloud computing, and less than 10 percent giving software appliances the