|By Mark R. Hinkle||
|October 15, 2006 01:30 PM EDT||
I recently read an article in the "mainstream" media that gave me pause. The author made an assertion that the current trend towards Open Source might just be a passing fad. I thought about this and looked critically at the software industry, thinking about whether there was merit in that statement. After all, we have seen plenty of high flyers peter out in a software industry riddled with buzzwords and acronyms-of-the-day. I just don't believe that open source is one of them.
When I worked in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) business, we saw every new consumer Internet fad firsthand. I remember PointCast, a push technology with a screen saver and news ticker that sucked up bandwidth and reduced office LANs to a crawl. I recall the days when every other technical support call was for help setting up the hot new Web browser, Netscape (the code that has, ironically, been given a second life as the basis of the free and open source Firefox), or the time when when thin clients were first championed by Sun Microsystems. However, not everyone grasped the idea that we would have always-on "dumb terminals" and that all our applications would live on the servers carefully maintained and backed up by application service providers (ASPs), though this vision may someday be realized by Google (who may be setting the stage with their Google Desktop (http://desktop.google.com). Thin clients seemed to have found ways to remotely access internal applications in order to keep data from leaving secure networks. Besides, like so many others, I still love my data-laden, fat-client laptop, and as much as I enjoy tools like hosted e-mail and online back-ups, I don't foresee parting ways with my laptop anytime soon.
What makes free and open source software more than a fad? The notion of free software is nothing new - in fact, it's how software was originally distributed. In the earliest days of computing, you usually got the source code for the operating system at the time you purchased the mainframe. At that time, of course, there were very few computers - most of which were for use at large companies, government agencies, and universities - so users often shared programs and source code. Since free software has been around for over 40 years, it can hardly be called a fad. Furthermore, there are more and more long-term projects that continue to gain momentum. Linus Torvalds started Linux, for example, in 1991, and 15 years later, the operating system is enjoying quarter after quarter of double-digit growth in the server market. That's hardly a flash in the pan. Apache, too, the dominant Internet Web server, has been growing by 4.4% since July, and holds 63.09 % of the web server market, according to Internet services company Netcraft (http://news.netcraft.com/archives/web_server_survey.html).
Not only do open source markets have a reliable history, but their future, too, is nearly guaranteed by the continued need for the adoption of open source software in order to sustain the efficiency they have brought to the industry. First, open source software is by and large a pull model. Before any corporate vendor can get involved, software is usually developed to solve specific problems faced by end users who they self-identify in market. Most people like to showcase their accomplishments and share their knowledge (look at the blog phenomenon), and because the development of a piece of software that's useful and well written is something to be proud of, people usually share it. Then, when someone else sees the value of the pet project, he or she is likely to not only use it, but also share improvements that can benefit the original author and the additional contributor. Clearly, it's a more efficient practice than commercial models. Red Hat and Novell, for example, both fund development of the Linux kernel by paying the salaries of developers. They each focus on adding value in other areas as well, like testing and other quality assurance measures, efficient delivery of a commercial version operating system, and technical support. After all, there's little incremental value between the two base operating systems. It is a much more efficient model than say, commercial Unix, where each vendor duplicates efforts in areas that add very little incremental value.
In other industries - especially businesses that have similar needs and whose competitive advantages are based on assets unrelated to information technology infrastructure - shared development can help the whole industry. Unlike commercial software, open source software is driven from the bottom up, which means it's not typically developed by independent software vendors (ISVs) and then distributed. However, we are starting to see that happening, as well as more and more software vendors turning over their software to the open source community, just like database vendor Ingres has done. Some do it because they don't want to maintain the software, but the smart ISVs know that innovation comes from the end user. Mature products can receive new life from the open source vendor community and adapt to an ever-changing IT landscape.
Invariably, leading commercial software in a variety of software segments will be challenged by open source markets. The following are current trends I believe will outlive the fad moniker:
- Virtualization: It's what's hot right now, but there's no slowdown in sight. Over the past ten years, our thirst for faster computers drove the industry to provide blazingly fast chips that sipped more power and threw off a lot more heat. Now, those efforts are being penalized by data centers that can't meet electrical and cooling needs. Virtualization allows consolidation and higher utilization on Linux servers. Commercial software vendor VMware (an EMC company) was one of the fastest-growing software companies in the past five years. The Xen project, a hypervisor, which is a piece of software that allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on the same server, is the open source alternative to VMware. Open source virtualization is being advocated by more than just Linux users. Even Microsoft has announced they will be supporting Xen even though it might be competitive with their Microsoft Virtual Server.
- Open source systems management: Systems management is an established software sector used pervasively across many industries that have been paying dearly for expensive seat licenses and up-front royalties. New monitoring companies like Zenoss (www.zenoss.com), GroundWork Open Source (www.groundworkopensource.com), and Hyperic (www.hyperic.com) are offering subscription-based monitoring products that offer very similar products at attractive pricing models. Some of these projects use the same open source projects to build their commercial offerings. Because they are sharing the burden of development, they don't have to fund all the R&D on their own, and they can bring products to market quickly and inexpensively, which enables competition with the Big 4 management vendors (HP, CA, IBM, and BMC).
- Open source business intelligence and planning software: This is more of a prediction than a trend, but it's one of the next sectors to be challenged by upstart open source projects that are replacing traditional enterprise software vendors. It's an industry ripe for open source: long-established vendors who have a broad customer base and a need for customization. Pentaho (www.pentaho.com), an open source business intelligence platform, will start to challenge companies like Business Objects, SAS, and Hyperion. In Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), the open source company Compiere (www.compiere.com) is going to challenge industry leader, SAP. Both companies will offer a competitive price and an easily integrated solution that will be a viable option to the entrenched vendors.
|Ajay D. Desai 10/18/06 01:57:40 AM EDT|
Concept of open source is commercially not viable. Creator of source code want recurring revenues from the work done once.
|Laura DiFiore 10/16/06 12:20:48 AM EDT|
I've been using free, open-source software for at least 15 years now. The overwhelming majority of software on my computer is freeware. The company I work for recently switched from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice not only because of the price (free!) but because it is smaller, more stable, and provides better compatibility with other document formats than MS Office does. The decision was, without doubt, forced by the extremely high cost of upgrading to Microsoft's latest version. By deciding to switch to OpenOffice, our company saved at least $22,000 in software costs for this year.
|factpoint 10/15/06 02:21:08 PM EDT|
Free and open-source software is good for you and for the world. This is the best Windows software that we know of.No adware, no spyware, just good software. View link: http://digg.com/software/Open_Source_Windows_2
|Sid Boyce 10/14/06 07:31:50 PM EDT|
Most of the naysayers are too afraid of the prospects and deploy their arguments more as a wish that some day soon the old familiar paradigm will survive intact. If you have followed reactions from some who are amongst the staunchest supporters of Open Source, you will have seen the initial hostile dismissal, followed by increasingly mellow statements and finally the volt-face. Very early on I asked a number of them to write an article a year hence and I would remind them of the first one they wrote - I have never been disappointed, it took one writer just 10 months. Of course, the proponents of the old proprietary order are still there, perhaps never to be convinced - they have too much at stake to change their views, King Canute characters standing resolute against the oncoming tide, to be washed away and their words with them. My manager who tried giving me a hard time when I switched away from Windows to Linux at least had the humility years later to admit that he thought I was going out on to a slender branch which was already consigned to falling. I was even introduced to one of our customers as a "Linux Bigot" by one of our salesmen who had been asked by the customer to have someone give them some information on installing Linux on their mainframe. The undying truth is that whatever and however harsh the criticisms, Open Source developers keep writing code undaunted. My guess is they had a forlorn hope that the developers would realise they were on to a loser and redeploy their efforts back to proprietary code writing or to sitting in front of TV sets with cold beers instead. At best most developers were disdainfully regarded as college student type amateur software writers incapable of producing anything of quality, at least nothing that sould match the professional standards of proprietary products. Here in the UK, we were even called users of Boys Own Unix, a disparaging simile of a once very popular "Boys Own Comic" that has long ceased publication.
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
Dec. 20, 2014 03:00 AM EST Reads: 920
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 19, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,219
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Dec. 19, 2014 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,319
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 19, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,878
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Dec. 19, 2014 07:00 AM EST Reads: 2,188
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Dec. 19, 2014 06:30 AM EST Reads: 2,186
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Dec. 19, 2014 05:00 AM EST Reads: 2,004
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Dec. 19, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 2,006
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,049
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,313
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
Dec. 18, 2014 06:00 AM EST Reads: 843
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,343
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,398
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,378
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Dec. 17, 2014 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,283
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,506
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,338
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Dec. 15, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,701
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 6,886
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,965