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Eighth Annual Future of Open Source Survey Finds OSS Powering New Technologies, Reaching New People, and Creating New Economics

Black Duck Software, the trusted partner for open source software (OSS) adoption, management, and governance, and North Bridge Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm, today announced the results of the eighth annual Future of Open Source Survey, an annual investigation into OSS industry trends. This year’s results point toward the increased strategic role that OSS has in today’s enterprises, the crucial function OSS plays in developing new technologies, the growth of first-time developers within the OSS community, and the impact it has on daily life.

“This year’s results signal an important shift in how enterprises view open source – a shift that will have tremendous impact on the future of development,” said Lou Shipley, President and CEO, Black Duck. “Open source has proven its quality and security, and reached a point of widespread democratization and proliferation. As such, organizations must – and, as our survey shows, some of the more sophisticated OSS users have already begun – changing the way they view their role. Understanding that it’s about more than just cost-cutting or any of the traditional reasons to simply use OSS; it’s about participating and managing the logistical challenges to gain competitive advantage, attract top talent, and influence project direction.”

Survey results highlight this democratization and proliferation of open source in three main areas: new people, new technologies, and new economics.

New People
Survey results uncover the growth of first-time developers participating in the open source community, and point to both new open source education initiatives and the prevalence of open source-based educational platforms. In addition, the survey reveals the three industries expected to be impacted most by OSS are education (76 percent), government (67 percent), and health care (45 percent). Results also demonstrate how embedded OSS has become in our social fabric. Respondents reported the top ten areas OSS will impact our everyday lives include:

1. Education
2. Mobility
3. Web privacy/security
4. Home appliance
5. Wearable devices
6. Robotics
7. Entertainment
8. Automotive
9. Gaming
10. Monetary exchange/payments

New Technologies
Open source has long been touted as the foundation for new technological innovations, and as OSS projects grow, so, too, do these new technologies. As data from the Black Duck® KnowledgeBase™ shows, with nearly one million open source projects to date, the rate of innovation spurs new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the continued rise of Software as a Service (SaaS). When asked what industries OSS technology was leading, 63 percent cited cloud computing/virtualization as the key area where developers have turned to OSS. In addition, 57 percent answered content management, 52 percent selected mobile technology, and 51 percent answered security.

New Economics
56 percent of corporations expect to contribute to more open source projects in 2014, signaling a change in the way enterprises view open source. When asked why they engaged with OSS communities, cost reduction was still the top response (61 percent), but 45 percent of corporations responded that they also did so to gain competitive advantage. For companies with over 1,000 employees, influencing a project’s direction was the third most popular answer. Finding and recruiting talent fell from the number two reason to engage with communities in 2013 to the number five answer this year, with only 37 percent choosing that as the top reason. This may be the result of OSS experience becoming a price-of-entry rather than a distinguishing factor.

“Open source is enjoying a proliferation that starts with a growing number of new developers at the grass roots. Many then go on to join enterprises who themselves are engaging in open source projects. Further news in the survey shows enterprises now organizing to contribute back more actively; as they realize the importance of open source innovation to jumpstart careers and kickstart projects,” said Michael Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners. “As our survey continues to show open source is consuming the software world as the inherent quality, functionality, and increasingly ease of deployment creates a powerful gravitational pull on people and industries. This self-reinforcing, virtuous cycle will result in the most exciting applications having an open source foundation, which is why many of the leading technology areas such as cloud, big data, content management and mobile are treating open source as their 'foundational platform.’ Further, more new areas like the Internet of Things, which requires interoperability and extensibility, can only be met by open source initiatives, hence the emergence of new communities such as the AllSeen Alliance."

Additional Findings

  • 72 percent of respondents chose to use OSS because it provides stronger security than proprietary solutions, signaling a growing awareness that the proper management and use of OSS actually provides an even more secure environment than proprietary solutions. Building upon this, 80 percent of respondents reported choosing open source because of its quality over proprietary alternatives.
  • 68 percent of respondents said that OSS helped improve efficiency and lower costs, and 55 percent also indicated that OSS helped create new products and services, further supporting the idea of OSS as both an entrenched and a strategic element of today’s enterprises.
  • 50 percent of enterprises report openly contributing to and adopting open source, signaling a shift in the way organizations view the value of and their role in making contributions to the community.

A record-breaking 1,240 industry influencers took this year’s survey, answering questions about OSS trends, opportunities, key drivers of open source adoption, community engagement, and the business problems OSS solves now and in the future.

To see the full results, please visit North Bridge and Black Duck on SlideShare. Results will be presented in a live webinar on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 2 p.m. ET – please click here to register.

Follow @futureofOSS for the latest news and information, join the #FutureOSS conversations on Twitter and read more about the industry at the Open Source Delivers blog.

About North Bridge Venture Partners
Established in 1994, North Bridge is an active partner for early-stage entrepreneurs, providing seed-to-growth financing for innovative companies looking to disrupt big markets. North Bridge partners, many founders themselves, work with entrepreneurs to apply their expertise in the creation, operation and scaling of market-leaders. The firm has offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Palo Alto, California. To learn more about North Bridge, go to and follow us at @north_bridge. For more information on the Future of Open Source program, visit

About Black Duck Software
Black Duck is the partner of choice for open source software adoption, governance and management. Enterprises of every size depend on Black Duck to harness the power of open source technologies and methods. As part of the greater OSS community, Black Duck connects developers to comprehensive OSS resources through, and to the latest commentary from industry experts through the Open Source Delivers blog. Black Duck also hosts the Open Source Think Tank, an international event where thought leaders collaborate on the future of open source. Black Duck is headquartered near Boston and has offices in San Mateo, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing. For more information about how to leverage open source to deliver faster innovation, greater creativity and improved efficiency, visit and follow us at @black_duck_sw.

2014 Future of Open Source Survey Collaborators

1. The 451 Group/451 Research                 29. Linux Professional Institute (LPI)
2. Acquia 30. MARSEC-XL
3. AMD 31. MassTLC
4. Apache Foundation 32. project
5. Apperian 33. Open Invention Network (OIN)
6. Appsembler 34. Open Source Initiative (OSI)
7. Automattic 35. Open Source Software Institute (OSSI)
8. Bareos 36. Open-Xchange
9. CenturyLink 37. OpenClinica
10. Chef 38. OpenLogic – A Rouge Wave Company
11. Cloudera 39. Opmantek
12. CollabNet 40. OSEHRA (Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent)
13. Commerce Guys 41. Pentaho
14. Couchbase 42. Red Hat
15. Credativ 43. Revolution Analytics
16. The Document Foundation 44.
17. Eclipse Foundation 45. Spree Commerce
18. edX 46. SugarCRM
19. Engine Yard 47. SUSE
20. Entando 48. Teluu
21. EnterpriseDB 49. Ubuntu by Canonical
22. Epic Learning Group 50. VoltDB
23. Eucalyptus 51. WPEngine
24. FoundationDB 52. WSO2
25. Grid Protection Alliance 53. X2Engine
26. Intel 54. Zenoss
27. Jaspersoft
28. JFrog

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