Open Source: Are we at the tipping point?

Over this past weekend I read an intriguing article in Computer Reseller News (CRN) about open source software (OSS) being touted at LinuxWorld — specifically open source application software.

There were several interesting aspects to this article — ones that I’m seeing as well — but the essence of this story about adoption of OSS applications compels me to mention CRN’s primary audience: the key readership of this trade rag are those Value Added Resellers (VAR’s), Systems Integrators (SI’s) and other service providers that make money off of specific targeted customer segments and the products and solutions they can sell and deliver to them. If OSS is truly becoming an accelerator for small to midsize businesses (SMB’s) that many interviewed for this article think it is, than we may have reached a tipping point for OSS adoption.

It’s not the stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) that is the reason SMB’s will adopt OSS. It’s the applications! I should note that Fortune 100-type enterprise businesses have already adopted some application-based OSS articulated somewhat in this LinuxWorld story, but accelerated adoption within SMB is what will give OSS application software critical mass and is THE big story.

For more on this story and some counterpoint (and that open source application software was actually little seen at LinuxWorld) see an interview with pundit John C. Dvorak, this article on Yahoo, and this one about HP and OSS licenses (since standardizing licensing will help to accelerate use and adoption of OSS).

My intuition tells me that we’re either at the tipping point now or very close to it. I still have not seen quantitative data about actual implementations (and downloads or activity at Sourceforge.net are an indication only of downloading and activity and not of deployments and use). When I see actual data of both enterprise and SMB use of OSS applications — and the trendline of adoption — than I’ll be convinced that my intuition is correct.

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About Steve Borsch

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