Welcome!

Linux Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Sematext Blog, Carmen Gonzalez, Tim Hinds

Related Topics: Linux

Linux: Article

The Future of Open Source

The Future of Open Source

Linux is among the most popular applications known as "free software" or "open source." Among other things, "open source" means that the source code for these applications is available to those who are interested in seeing (or modifying) it. This is unlike commercial applications such as Windows where all the source code is a tightly guarded secret.

Open source software has now turned into big business. For example, HP recently announced that in 2003 they had over $2.5 billion in Linux-based revenue. By any measure, $2.5 billion is a lot of money.

Not bad for a little operating system that was first built by a Finnish grad student using software tools developed by Richard Stallman's GNU Project back in the mid '80s.

But what about the future? Are we close to the top? What's left to do now that Linux is seemingly on top of the world already?

What's left for open source? Plenty. Open source is literally changing the entire technology landscape.

Open source is now allowing companies - even major companies such as IBM - to build applications that have a market impact that they could never achieve on their own. It allows companies to work together to build applications that none of them could build individually.

Sure, IBM could build an operating system such as Linux (remember OS/2?). But because Linux is open source, it has much better distribution than OS/2 could ever have had. Because companies such as Oracle, HP, SGI, and hundreds of others all have the source code for Linux, they can all contribute to its advancement.

That's why IBM employs hundreds of developers who do nothing but work on an operating system that IBM doesn't even sell as its own product.

Smaller companies have a great deal to gain from contributing to Linux as well. By allowing their developers to work on Linux, smaller companies get a "voice at the table" when it comes time to influence the direction of Linux. Plus, they get to take advantage of the work put into Linux by all the big players as well.

In the future this open, collaborative process will be used for lots of things other than Linux. Amazon.com's users, for example, collaborate to build the value of the Amazon site by contributing book reviews, lists, and other information - all at no cost to Amazon. The impact of the Internet on this year's presidential elections here in the U.S. can easily be looked at as just another chapter in the collaborative, open source story.

By banding together and all contributing small pieces to large applications and projects, the users themselves are accomplishing things that the biggest companies could only dream of. These users are literally changing the world.

More Stories By Kevin Bedell

Kevin Bedell, one of the founding editors of Linux.SYS-CON.com, writes and speaks frequently on Linux and open source. He is the director of consulting and training for Black Duck Software.

Comments (3) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Tyler Jensen 03/18/04 09:37:33 PM EST

The assumption that open source and Linux are responsible for an economic bonanza for those companies that have embraced them is questionable. One must ponder the possibility that HP would have sold $2.5 billion in hardware, proprietary software and services attributed as “Linux-based” with an alternative operating system if Linux and the open source concept did not exist because HP’s customers would have required those goods and services regardless of the existence of open source and Linux.

Would IBM give up its quest to dominate the hardware and services market if open source and Linux had never come along? Would Oracle throw in the towel and stop selling it’s database for proprietary operating systems? Would Amazon.com close it’s virtual doors?

While you may not find many lines of Linux code in the proprietary products of these and hundreds of other leading software companies who make and sell proprietary software that runs on Linux and other operating systems, you will undoubtedly find developers and software products that have benefited either directly or indirectly from the buoyant properties of the open source community and its shared intellectual library of solutions to common software development challenges.

That the application software development market has benefited remarkably from open source is certain. An of understanding the underpinnings of the operating system along with source code available for review levels the playing field and perhaps leads vendors of proprietary operating systems who also compete in the applications market to think twice before taking unfair advantage of inside knowledge.

That said, the benefits and market opportunities provided by open source cannot come close in comparison that of open standards. With open standards the software development market has moved forward. Protocols and standards such as TCP, HTTP, XML and many more have made it possible for developers and software vendors both large and small to participate in what has globally been without a doubt the fastest technological progression of the humanity in the history of the world.

Tyler Jensen 03/18/04 09:29:39 PM EST

The assumption that open source and Linux are responsible for an economic bonanza for those companies that have embraced them is questionable. One must ponder the possibility that HP would have sold $2.5 billion in hardware, proprietary software and services attributed as “Linux-based” with an alternative operating system if Linux and the open source concept did not exist because HP’s customers would have required those goods and services regardless of the existence of open source and Linux.

Would IBM give up its quest to dominate the hardware and services market if open source and Linux had never come along? Would Oracle throw in the towel and stop selling it’s database for proprietary operating systems? Would Amazon.com close it’s virtual doors?

While you may not find many lines of Linux code in the proprietary products of these and hundreds of other leading software companies who make and sell proprietary software that runs on Linux and other operating systems, you will undoubtedly find developers and software products that have benefited either directly or indirectly from the buoyant properties of the open source community and its shared intellectual library of solutions to common software development challenges.

That the application software development market has benefited remarkably from open source is certain. An of understanding the underpinnings of the operating system along with source code available for review levels the playing field and perhaps leads vendors of proprietary operating systems who also compete in the applications market to think twice before taking unfair advantage of inside knowledge.

That said, the benefits and market opportunities provided by open source cannot come close in comparison that of open standards. With open standards the software development market has moved forward. Protocols and standards such as TCP, HTTP, XML and many more have made it possible for developers and software vendors both large and small to participate in what has globally been without a doubt the fastest technological progression of the humanity in the history of the world.

Tyler Jensen 03/18/04 09:28:42 PM EST

The assumption that open source and Linux are responsible for an economic bonanza for those companies that have embraced them is questionable. One must ponder the possibility that HP would have sold $2.5 billion in hardware, proprietary software and services attributed as “Linux-based” with an alternative operating system if Linux and the open source concept did not exist because HP’s customers would have required those goods and services regardless of the existence of open source and Linux.

Would IBM give up its quest to dominate the hardware and services market if open source and Linux had never come along? Would Oracle throw in the towel and stop selling it’s database for proprietary operating systems? Would Amazon.com close it’s virtual doors?

While you may not find many lines of Linux code in the proprietary products of these and hundreds of other leading software companies who make and sell proprietary software that runs on Linux and other operating systems, you will undoubtedly find developers and software products that have benefited either directly or indirectly from the buoyant properties of the open source community and its shared intellectual library of solutions to common software development challenges.

That the application software development market has benefited remarkably from open source is certain. An of understanding the underpinnings of the operating system along with source code available for review levels the playing field and perhaps leads vendors of proprietary operating systems who also compete in the applications market to think twice before taking unfair advantage of inside knowledge.

That said, the benefits and market opportunities provided by open source cannot come close in comparison that of open standards. With open standards the software development market has moved forward. Protocols and standards such as TCP, HTTP, XML and many more have made it possible for developers and software vendors both large and small to participate in what has globally been without a doubt the fastest technological progression of the humanity in the history of the world.

@ThingsExpo Stories
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
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.
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
"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.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
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.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
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.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
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.

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...

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...