Open Source Is the Big Disruptor

Continued acceptance will drive down prices and force proprietary software vendors to change their business model.

LAS VEGAS - Gartner declared open-source software the biggest disruptor the software industry has ever seen and postulated it will eventually result in cheaper software and new business models.

Open-source products accounted for a 13 percent share of the $92.7 billion software market in 2006, but should account for 27 percent of the market in 2011 when revenue is expected to be $169.2 billion, according to Gartner research.


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And, as open source adoption grows, expect its influence to grow, said Gartner research director Laurie Wurster in a presentation, "Measuring Open Source Market Influencers," at the Gartner Open Source Summit Sept. 21 here.

"Open-source software is going to erode proprietary sales revenue by offering less-expensive or free alternatives, expanding the total market potential by meeting the demands of SMBs for affordable solutions, and creating a new business model for established and emerging service providers to provide selection, customization and management services for open-source solutions," Wurster said.

A recent Gartner survey of 295 respondents in the U.S. and Europe found that open source software usage stood at 23.6 percent, and this number is set to grow to 25.9 percent over the next year, she said.


Click here to read more about why Gartner believes most commercial software products will include elements of open-source code by 2010.

That compared to their use of internally developed software, at 27.1 percent , which will rise to 28.1 percent over the next year, and their use of proprietary or commercial software, at 48.6 percent, but which is expected to drop to 45.5 percent over the next year.

"This shows that they are doing core internal development using open-source components, where available, at a lower cost than starting from scratch. They see no reason to reinvent the wheel," Wurster said.

The survey also found that, of the open-source software being used, 49.7 percent is used in mission-critical situations, with 50.3 percent being used in non-mission critical situations. That compared to 59 percent of commercial or proprietary software and 58.5 percent of internally developed software which is used in mission-critical situations.


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Wurster also spoke on some of the market accelerators to open source, which included the low barriers to entry and increased return on investment, the availability of high-quality solutions at low cost, the access to open standards and development processes, vendor independence and flexibility—resulting in investment protection—and faster procurement and a shorter development time.

Among the market inhibitors, many of which are perceptions rather than reality, are concerns about migration and skills transfer, internal development, support and maintenance costs, quality assurance, and the large number of license with conflicting terms, she said.


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