IDC Examines Open Source Beyond Market Share

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The LinuxWorld conference came and went last week in San Francisco, offering companies and individuals a look at some of the latest advancements in the world of open source. Attendees had a lot to be happy about, as open-source software continues to claim more users in many different sectors around the world. But does the impact of open source extend beyond market share?

According to IDC, it does. A new study from the research organization, “Open Source in Global Software: Market Impact, Disruption, and Business Models,” indicates that open source is the most important comprehensive and long-term trend to affect the software industry since the early 1980s. Furthermore, IDC analysts think open source eventually will play a role in the life cycle of every major software category.

The IDC study polled more than 5,000 developers in 116 countries. About 71 percent of respondents said they used open-source software in some form, and that these kinds of solutions were in production at 54 percent of their organizations. Furthermore, about half said that adoption of open source was on the rise in their enterprise. Looking into the future of open source, IDC researchers predict it will cut a low double-digit percentage out of the software market, due in large part to vicious price competition. An even bigger impact, however, will come from the effect of open-source development techniques on the software life cycle process. Even proprietary companies, such as Oracle and Microsoft, have implemented these practices in the creation and design of their solutions, and they will likely continue to do so with greater frequency.

This is really where open source will make its mark, IDC experts say. As the software market matures, consumers and enterprises will settle into certain solutions and, hence, there will be fewer users up for grabs. Yet for the developers themselves, said Dr. Anthony Picardi, senior vice president of global software research at IDC, “Open-source software is ultimately a resource for sustaining innovators.”

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