Even more so than these budding open source projects, is the acceptance the projects have gained within the enterprise. "There's no stigma against open source projects," Shimel says. "It's with corporate blessing now that open source comes through the front door and not the back door."
Floyd Strimling, a VP of community at open source management company Zenoss, says that has perhaps been the biggest change for open source projects. "Large organizations are allowing their employees to contribute to open source projects now," he says. "That's huge."
Take OpenStack, for example: Major tech companies, from Rackspace to HP and Dell, are all embracing open source as a business operating model. The general idea, Strimling says, is for these companies to take the open source projects, like OpenStack, and innovate on top of them. Perhaps 80% of the core is the same among the companies, and the 20% that's different is the value-add the businesses provide.
That could create some interesting scenarios moving forward, though. What if Rackspace is wildly successful with OpenStack but HP is not, for example? Will HP continue to support and contribute to a project that Rackspace is benefitting from? "What happens when someone else starts making a lot of money?" Strimling says. He's not too worried about it, though. Open source projects, if they are good, outlive the companies supporting them. Red Hat, despite being $1 billion in revenue, is not bigger than Linux.
Despite all the attention projects like OpenStack and Hadoop are receiving, Shimel says they both still have a long way to go. "They're big on promise, short on real examples," he says. If any project has a future, though, it's likely one that has the backing of such big-name companies as Rackspace, Red Hat, HP, Dell, IBM, Cisco and VMware, like OpenStack does. "There's a lot of smart money invested in those projects."
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.