A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to contribute my thoughts as the Director, Technology Solutions here at Kanatek, on where the future of open source technology is headed for an article in CMS WiRe celebrating its 20th anniversary titled, “Open Source’s Twentieth Anniversary: And Where the Next Twenty Years Will Take Us“. These insights were included in a round-up post featuring predictions from small organizations to industry giants including VMware, RedHat and Rackspace. After giving it some thought, here are some additional predictions from my perspective on the future of open source technology.
De Facto Standard and Copycat Software
This is the quote that made it into the article so the first part may look familiar, but it has been expanded on a bit. It’s my opinion that open source is maturing. As it gains mainstream attention and implementation among small to medium businesses, the user community will strengthen it. This will result in making it a more robust solution. As open source code becomes more robust, we’ll see increased adoption among enterprise businesses. This increase in popularity will lead eventually to open source becoming a de facto standard. At this point, I expect to see copycat software emerge to compete for market share.
We’ve seen some evidence of this with Linux distributions (RedHat), as well as databases (PostgreSQL), backup software and elsewhere. We are even beginning to see it in newer, up-and-coming technologies.
Another trend I’ve witnessed is code fork from open source software becoming a proprietary software and creating a whole new business (e.g. Bacula). I predict we’ll continue to see a lot more of this.
For those unfamiliar with the term, here’s a definition from the Linux Information Project
” A project fork, also called a fork or forking, is the creation of a new branch of a software development project that is independent of the existing project.
Forking usually occurs because of differences in philosophy or incompatible personalities. The people starting the fork typically are dissatisfied with the pace and/or direction of the project, and they often have the goal of replacing it.
The possibility of forking occurring is a characteristic of the free software, also referred to as open source software, development model. This is because, by definition, the source code produced by projects following such model is freely available to anyone to use for any purpose, including modifying, redistributing and starting their own development projects.” (source: Linux Information Project, “Project Fork Definition“)
Gauging Market Viability
I predict that in the future we’ll see open source software as a whole gain traction as businesses begin to trust them more. Implementation will occur at a faster pace and we will see the business developer community use open source as a method to gauge acceptance and viability – ultimately advancing innovation.
That’s it for now! Where do you think the future of open source is headed? What would you like to see next in this space?