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28 May 2012

Future of Open Source Survey Points to Cloud and Mobile Opportunities

The annual Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), sponsored by Computerworld, is underway in San Francisco this week, and, as usual at the conference, Northbridge Venture Partners has released its Future of Open Source survey results. This year's edition of the survey involved more than 20 industry collaborators and more than 450 participants from all over the open source community. We've covered the results of this survey in the past, where it has typically pointed to important new trends such as the integration of open source with cloud computing strategies, and the rise of open source business intelligence software. This year's survey results show especially bright trends for open source in the mobile and cloud computing arenas.
According to the survey results:

"The results of the survey, now in its fifth year, reveal that open source is now fully embraced by both the public and private sectors, and is being implemented across a wide variety of markets and applications such as social publishing and big data. Additionally, user confidence in open source continues to grow dramatically, represented by the fact that users are much less concerned with historical impediments to adoption such as licensing or conforming to an organization’s internal policies."

Among interesting findings from the survey:

Respondents have identified SaaS, cloud and mobile as the main areas that will have a dramatic impact on open source and that are driving growth.

In 2010 there were 3,800 new open source based projects in mobile, with 94% targeting Android and Apple iOS, more than double the number in 2009.

There are now more than 470 open source projects targeting cloud computing.

For the first time, supporting the fact that open source has truly gone mainstream, end users accounted for 60 percent of the survey respondents and the quality of responses continues to increase, spreading across all levels of IT management from developers to a large number of C-level executives.

The open source customers are now more focused on mainstream technology issues, including improved operational excellence around areas such as support, product management, feature functionality and return on investment. This is in contrast to earlier years where the survey had pointed to things such as the legal implications of licensing and conforming to internal policies.

56 percent of respondents believe that more than half of software purchases made in the next five years will be open source.

95 percent of respondents noted that a turbulent economy continues to be “good” for OSS, though for the first year ever, lower cost has been overtaken by freedom from vendor lock-in as what makes OSS more attractive.

When asked about revenue generating strategies likely to create value for vendors, 56% of the respondents said that an annual, repeatable support and service agreement was the most likely.

According to Tom Erickson, CEO of Acquia, which provides support and services surrounding the Drupal CMS:

"This survey reinforces what we continually see in the market with Drupal adoption -more and more large, high-visibility customers, such as The White House, Sony Music and The Economist, are fully embracing open source as their mainstream solution for social publishing.”

One of the trends that really jumps out of the survey results is that the bad economy continues to drive open source adoption, and IT administrators are catching the open source wave. Some of the other trends highlighted by the survey results are extensions of that theme. For example, trustworthy support and service agreements for commercial open source solutions are more important than ever as businesses build open source into cost-saving IT strategies.
It's also notable that the number of open source cloud computing projects is approaching 500 projects. There is no doubt at this point that the rise of the cloud will include boosts for many open source projects.

About North Bridge Venture Partners

North Bridge Venture Partners is an active, early-stage venture capital firm based in Boston, Massachusetts and San Mateo, California, founded in 1994. With approximately $3.1 billion under management, North Bridge Venture Partners focuses on investments in communications, software, new media, healthcare, and materials technology. Working closely with entrepreneurs, North Bridge adds value by providing strategic guidance., specific industry knowledge, team-building skills and in-depth understanding of both private and public financings. 


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