2008 was an important year for Open Source and a successful one in addition. We have seen more adoption, more commercial success, more innovation, more collaboration and more options for the IT buyer. And it’s not the end, more success is still to come. The following paragraphs are summarizing what we have seen in the last 12 months.Accelerated Adoption of Open SourceOpen Source has clearly become mainstream for enterprises. Everybody from Gartner to IDC and to CIO.com published about the continuous adoption of Open Source by the Enterprises.The financial crisis and the threatening recession helped to promote Open Source even more and position it as a recipe to deal with lower IT budgets.Open Source adoption continued to be strong in Europe specifically. Germany, France and Spain alone can compete with the US in terms of adoption rates.Security remained a major concern with commercial software and has driving adoption of Open Source alternatives such as Firefox on the cost of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.Finally forced the consolidation in the commercial IT world – e.g. Oracle buying BEA, acquisitions by IBM or OpenText in the ECM space, the consolidation in the business intelligence domain in general – many decision maker to rethink his technology choices and to look at Open Source alternatives.Successful commercial Open SourceThe leading open source vendors continued to prosper. Alfresco, SugarCRM, RedHat/JBoss, etc. all announced good progress and seemed to be continuously beating their business plans.A quite large number of Open Source vendors have received additional funding, including OpenBravo, Alfresco, Optaros, DotNetNuke, SugarCRM, EnterpriseDB, GreenPlum, JasperSoft, Open-Xchange, Nuxeo, besides many others. The big question of course is for how long the cash injections need to last, given the difficult times in the economy.For faster growth and more impact in the market, Open Source providers have acquired other companies and technology providers. Examples here are SpringSource buying Covalent or RedHat buying Qumranet.Foundations continue to be a key driver for sustainable open source development. Outside of the well known established foundations such as Mozilla or Apache, the Django Software Foundation was established to foster the development of Python based web framework Django.Open Source Enterprise Content Management of high interestEven more than in the years before Open Source Content Management Solutions have been pushing back their commercial alternatives.Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 initiatives in large companies more and more involved evaluations of open source stacks (i.e. Alfresco, Liferay, Drupal, etc.)The interest of IT decision makers can also be interpreted from the fact, that the top 3 technologies researched on EOS Directory in 2008 are all Open Source ECM solutions.Innovation and pushing the envelope by Open SourceIn 2008 we have seen a number of influential new releases of top ranked open source projects: Firefox 3.0 (8.3 million downloads in 24 hours), Open Office 3.0 (almost 18 million times downloaded in less than two months) to name just two.Exciting new open source projects were launched, such as Google Chrome (browser) or DimDim (web conferencing).The rise in interest in mobile business application can be clearly attributed to the success of Google Android and its proprietary alternative iPhone, that for whatever reasons is also loved by many Open Source geeks.With the success of cloud computing a number of relevant open source technologies surfaced, such as Eucalyptus, Globus Nimbus, RESERVOIR, OpenNebula, etc.It was a productive year with no doubt. More than 80% of all projects tracked on EOS Directory published new releases, many of them multiple times.Open Source communities have continued to produce and invest, as a matter of fact twenty-three percent of all downloadable Open Source code was released or renewed in 2008 according to some research of BlackduckOpen Source and Open StandardsOpen Standards have again received strong attention, are still rising in importance and are heavily supported by Open Source. At the same time Open Standards are driving interest for Open Source technologies: CMIS and the fast adoption by open source players such as Alfresco, Magnolia or Joomla is one example. OpenID was adopted by large players such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign and Yahoo!. Microsoft finally decided to support OpenDocument format. New standards such as openAuth, DiSo, OpenSocial are generating more and more interest.Traditional commercial vendors adopting Open SourceIf you can’t fight them, join them. We have seen a number of acquisitions of open source companies by traditional IT vendors. Sun acquired MySQL and bought VirtualBox (Innothek), Novell acquired SiteScape, etc.Many commercial vendors tried a hybrid strategy, among them Iona or Nokia who acquired Symbian/Trolltech), Microsoft putting more emphasis on Open Source with CodePlex and the (osi certified) Microsoft Public License, Adobe (opensource.adobe.com), BT (acquiring Osmosoft, striking a large deal with SugarCRM).Some vendors were opening their software for enlarged market reach, i.e. Oxid eSales following the example of Ingres and many others before.Solving the Support “problem”Support, seen as one of the barriers for Open Source adoption in the past, has become less of an issue over time. With self support offerings, as promoted by Sourcelabs for example, new options for the IT buyer increase the already well established choices. New companies focusing on services around specific technologies receive both funding and customer interest, such as the company Acquia offering software bundles, extensions, support and professional services around the Open Source technology Drupal.Hopes that remained unheardNot all wishes were fulfilled in 2008. There is still no modular mainstream java based CRM platform, we still see no clear winner in the Content Management domain, actually there have been more options added during the last twelve months than removed. There’s no single leading technology visible to develop Ajax applications or to implement portals. And there are still too many choices for web programming frameworks the confused enterprise developer is confronted with. And, did we really need yet another internet browser? But choice is always better than monopolies, so let’s continue to be “open”.