The survey also found that Web publishing content management, social software and business intelligence are expected to be the most vulnerable sectors to open-source disruption in the next five years, while configuration management, enterprise portals and security tools are likely to be the least vulnerable.
In addition, security tools, business intelligence and enterprise service businesses are expected to never be vulnerable to disruption.
Linux will be pervasive on future systems and devices going forward and, as more activity happens in the cloud, that will also be built largely on Linux, Shuttleworth said, adding that he does not know which companies will be leading that charge.
Open-source companies will also have to go well beyond just supporting the code they provide, with richer services. "Oracle, Sun, IBM and SAP all face real challenges in shifting to providing data-driven, transaction-oriented services. I don't see them creating the most value on this front going forward," he said.
Asked how many of their open-source project contributors are full-time staff versus contributors, Shuttleworth said some 10 percent are paid by Canonical, but that rises to about a third for the development of core kernel features.
Ingres' Burkhardt said that some 98 percent of the core database work is done in-house, while Jeff Whatcott, vice president of marketing at Acquia, said about 3 percent of contributors for its commercially supported Drupal come from in-house, with the rest coming from the 900 contributors.
John Roberts, CEO for SugarCRM, said his company has had more than 10,000 external developers working on its projects over the years.