5 key forces driving open source today

From the rise of foundations to emerging revenue models, the open source movement is primed for even greater impact on tomorrow's technologies

By Simon Phipps, InfoWorld |  IT Management

As a result, the wide range of organizations using open source in the cloud has increased pressure to create nonprofit foundations to host shared code. Also, because no copy of any significant derivative of the code is passed to a third party, GPL-licensed software does not trigger its copyleft clause when run in the cloud. As a result, licensing approaches are either being strengthened to include cloud deployment as a trigger -- the AGPL does this -- or developers are seeing that, because the GPL does not force contribution, it's better to lower the barriers to corporate engagement and opt for permissive licensing.

The rise of cloud computing is also fueling new business models for open source. As an example, the services offered by CloudBees to enterprise developers are largely built using open source software. However, they're hard for a competitor to replicate because the full operational source (including operations scripts) is not supplied and the experience and skills to replicate it are costly enough to give CloudBees a competitive lead.

Witness the rise of cloud-focused open source communities, such as OpenStack, and you can see how central the cloud is to today's open source movement.

5. Big data: Value beyond softwareThe historic revenue model around open source software has been to monetize consulting, support, and services around software delivered free of charge. The rise of data-centric and data-driven organizations is changing this.

In today's market, the largest base for open source software -- companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter -- derive value from the way their users or customers access software online, rather than by charging for access to the software. They gather massive amounts of data about user activity and process it to drive their actual business. Thus, what differentiates their business is not the software itself, but the way it is configured, deployed, and combined with other software to manage and extract value from data on an epic scale.

For these businesses, tight control over software is no longer critical to their profit. It's no detriment to their business for customers and even competitors to have many of the same software components they are using. As a consequence, many of these entities experiment both by open-sourcing internally developed code and using open source code created by other entities, including competitors, in core business functions.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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