Enterprise Linux Log

May 16 2011   5:30PM GMT

Surprise? Open source users/vendors say open source is big

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

It’s not surprising that a survey of open source-oriented users and vendors queried on open source adoption found that open source software is going mainstream. The fact that the survey was sponsored by a VC firm noted for backing open source companies, further stacks the deck.

And yet there are some interesting tidbits in the Fifth Annual Future of Open Source Survey.

So with a grain of salt fully taken, it is worth noting that the 450 respondents — a mix of users and vendors — found that the most attractive thing about open software is lack of vendor lock-in.  For the previous four years, the biggest perceived benefit of open source was lower cost.

The top barrier to adoption cited this year, was the lack of internal technical skills. In the past the biggest hurdle had been worry over legalities and liabilities of using open source software.

That is extremely noteworthy to Michael Skok, general partner with North Bridge.

In the past, companies worried about “legal concerns about licensing and whether open source software conforms to corporate standards,” Skok said.

That may have eased up because long-running SCO litigation has disappeared and probably even more because of a much more open-source-friendly stance by Microsoft. You know, the company whose CEO once likened open source to cancer. Many in the open source community feared that Microsoft might launch patent or copyright litigation over the use of open source software. That concern is lifting.

“Microsoft came to Acquia, recognizing that Drupal was so mainstream they didn’t want to compete with it but would rather have it running on the Microsoft stack. So they are co-marketing with us and drove tens of thousands downloads of Drupal.” Drupal is an open source collection of content management tools for building social networking applications.

Also interesting in the new results is that the most appealing thing about open source is the avoidance of vendor lock-in. That supplants the traditional benefit usually topping the list: Low cost.

Given the unified data center push by vendors like Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard tout the “one throat to choke” mantra, it is interesting that many data center customers don’t show all that much interest in getting all of their hardware/software from one vendor.

The 451 Group helped conduct the survey, as did several vendors including open source stalwarts like the aforementioned Acquia, Blackduck, Cloudera, Eucalpytus, Novell, Red Hat, Jaspersoft and (drum roll please) Microsoft.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at bdarrow@techtarget.com.

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