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Open Source Innovating

Open-source is one of the few major turning point in IT along the invention of the Java language (independence vs. Operating System) and more recently virtualization. However, it is more  a revolution in the "business model" than any technological one.

Indeed, the open-source concept consists in distributing software with its source code freely editable. An effective open-source project requires the involvement of a community composed with users, developers, testers and a team providing customer support and assistance. The success and sustainability of the open source software is not only related to the technical quality but also the vitality of the community and finaly its size.

In some cases, private companies carry out the open source software and contribute significantly to its development together with related services and customer support. One can name for example Red Hat (Linux operating system for servers), Alfresco (Electronic Document Management) and there is still a short time ago, MySQL (database).

Our Century - an Open Source Success Factor

The open-source concept has long existed, but without the means of communication and collaboration as effective as the Internet,  the project had remained only at a technical stage, not commercial or user stage such as compilers (C language ...), operating systems (Linux) or formats (jpeg).

With the spread of internet, communities have been able to co-work more efficiently and the size of these communities has significantly increased. The project went faster and the software became rapidly popular. Office-oriented applications (LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird) and software (SugarCRM, ..) had emerged.

As early as 2011, everyone could see that the Open Source technologies’ potential exceeds in many areas and commercial applications.

In late 2011, according to StatCounter, the Open Source browsers Firefox and Chrome had a 50% market share versus 40% for Internet Explorer by Microsoft. In the "server software“ field, the leading position of the Open Source was confirmed even earlier, as show the case of the Web server software "Apache" which get 65% market share versus 15% for Microsoft IIS (source: netcraft), the latest one has never succeeded in exceeding 36% (peak in 2007).

Obviously, Open-source is a serious threat to the traditional editors. If the Open Source would extend to the entire PC through the Office suite with LibreOffice/OpenOffice and Linux, the Microsoft’s heart of profits (Windows and Office) would be toughly affected.

Open Source Community - Technololgies' Leader of the Future

Editors of closed sources technologies have been long to measure the degree of threat, excluding IBM and Novell who are still contributing to the development of Open Source technologies.

Some companies,  like Microsoft,  have long ignored the threat, while others like Oracle had a much more aggressive strategy with the acquisition of  the Open-Source leaders such as Sun Microsystems (Java, Open Office) and MySQL (database). Oddly enough, the competition authorities have let it happen while the intentions were not so clear, except perhaps for Java. About MySQL and Open Office, the ambiguity had led the project to a fork in 2 applications, when a part of the community decided to continue developing without the guidance of the buyer.

Gartner, the leading information technology resarch company, predicts that more than 30% of software companies will be open-source within 18 months. (2010)

The growing influence of editors like Oracle proves that Open-source is a revolution in progress! Constrained by budgets increasingly tight, CIOs have also felt the trend and Gartner predicted as early as 2010, that more than 30% of software companies will be open-source within 18 months.


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