Looking back on the Open Source year 2009 there are some clear trends and patterns that can be highlighted:
Governmental push and push back
We have seen US administration pushing Open Source in health care and we observed the Swiss government preferring Microsoft without even looking at (Open Source) alternatives.
Rise of new Open Source services players
Lucid Imagination has been formed around Lucene, Acquia continues to grow on the basis of Drupal. Thousands of new services players have been created around the world, some with, many without VC backing. Most of them are happy with their healthy pipelines despite the financial crisis and the recession.
Consolidation within Open Source has continued
Terracotta has acquired EHcache, SpringSource taken over multiple companies, many smaller niche technologies got eaten up. A lot of what is happening is not even transparent.
Commercial vendors have continued to acquire Open Source companies
There is a big appetite for Open Source in commercial companies, i.e. VMWare bought SpringSource, Oracle is taking over Sun (partially an Open Source vendor), to just name two well visible acquisitions.
The jury is still out on whether Open Source companies actually can make big money
Recent management changes, for example at SugarCRM, indicate that the climate is getting hotter even within the companies widely seen as successful. But outside of RedHat and a few companies that got cquired for good money, there’s still no proof that all that VC money will pay off. Which doesn’t mean that many of these companies are not making money. And, while the business case may not add up for the VCs, it certainly does for the Open Source user/buyer. According to most surveys they are happy with the cost savings and the won flexibility thanks to Open Source.
Open Source Business Applications continue to increase in importance
Pentaho just took the lead on EOS Directory, Open Source Business Intelligence is seen as a hot niche by Gartner, Open Source ECM and CRM are able to beat established commercial technologies. The number of reference cases is growing rapidly. But not just large enterprises are selecting Open Source, also the SME world is more and more convinced that Open Source is an alternative to established but often inflexible and expensive commercial offerings.
Linux has continued to increase its presence
Linux wins the consumer hearts through mobile phones and netbooks and continues to run on victory lane on the server side.
The battle on the client is won piece by piece
According to Statcounter Firefox 3.5 has a bigger market share than Internet Explorer 7. OpenOffice.org continues to grow, Chrome OS and Android are becoming real contenders together with Ubuntu to make endusers switch.
Open Source events are suffering from decreasing interest
Be it ApacheCon or many other Open Source focused conference, the interest of both the community as well as the enterprise buyer has decreased. This may have caused partially by lack of budget but mostly because of the growing experience and adoption of Open Source technologies.
Open Source projects continue to bring innovation to the IT landscape
Google presented Wave, Chrome OS, new ideas for better browsing rather come from Mozilla than Microsoft, Alfresco has been quicker in adopting CMIS than most commercial players, cross category integration is implemented faster within Open Source projects than outside.Did we miss something? Don’t hesitate to add to the list!