The state of open source: Evolving trends

The state of open source: Evolving trends

Industry experts offer their thoughts on where open source is heading in the next five years

Chris DiBona, open source programs manager Google

DiBona: Development: I see more interesting work happening in the Web toolkit/CMS space than in more tested and mature technologies like kernels and the like.

Community: I think that the community that matters most to me, that of the developers, is in a healthy state, growing slowly, without a lot of sturm und drang. That said, we'll see the regular ebb and flow of applications and projects, especially in the CMS space. For instance, I think that Drupal will be a dominant force for some time, but other CMSes might ebb a bit.

Market: Hmm, I think that Android will heavily influence embedded Linux upon its full release later this year. I also think that the "market" is contracting a little bit right now.

Eric S. Raymond, programmer, author, and open source software advocate

Raymond: That's really too general a question to answer. It's too much like asking "Where do you see electricity going in the next five years?"

Dave RosenbergCEO and co-founder Mulesource

Rosenberg: We've already seen the open source development model applied to areas far beyond software. We've also seen proprietary companies adopt similar development and distribution tactics to get closer to the user base.

I expect wide-scale adoption of open source in mission-critical applications as open source products continue to mature. I also expect the market opportunities to increase as we see more "closed" companies start to move further into open standards and development models.

Open source is no longer a matter of "if" but instead, a matter of "when."

Zack Urlocker, vice president of products MySQL

Urlocker: I think there's nothing but growth. Open source is an unstoppable force. We'll look back in 10 years and consider closed-source software to have been a weird anomaly. "You mean you paid millions for software without knowing if it would work?"

Young folks starting their careers in IT are already experts in open source; they've been using it for most of their college life. For managers and older developers, I think these are important skills to have. Just like you couldn't get ahead in the late 1990s without Web development experience, I think we're going to see the same trend around open source. These will be the necessary technical skills for career development.

We'll see more and more adoption of open source. The barriers to adoption are so small that it doesn't really make sense to launch new companies without using this approach. I think we'll also see huge growth in software-as-a-service and on-demand applications fueled by open source.

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