Survey: Open Source Adoption Rises, Drives Innovation

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More than 50 percent of all software purchased within five years will be open source, according to a survey released Monday by a collaboration of 26 open source companies.

This year’s “Future of Open Source Survey” results signal a tipping point for open source software adoption in the enterprise and non-technical industries such as automotive, health care and finance. In the auto industry, for example, 59 percent of the companies surveyed use open source software and 35 percent said they’re evaluating it.

Of the 740 companies surveyed, 42 percent said adoption in the non-technical segments was the No. 1 trend driving open source in 2012. 

“It indicates the maturing and awareness of the technology and its benefits,” said Peter Vescuso, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Black Duck Software, a survey sponsor.

Open Source Drives Innovation

That broader adoption creates a larger community for testing and feedback, a “virtuous cycle,” that’s driving innovation in cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, mobile and big data, according to the report. The innovation cycle is also giving way to new business models.

Industries are moving toward cloud computing, which is enabled by open source software, said Michael Skok, General Partner of North Bridge Venture Partners. Cloud, in turn, allows for more mobile and data adoption.

“All of these areas build on each other as non-technical industries look to solutions,” Skok said.

They turn to open source software to escape vendor lock-in, lower costs and increase quality, according to the survey. As further proof that the industry is maturing, this marked the first year that quality ranked among the top three reasons in the study’s six-year history.

“I see open source projects such as Drupal or Linux win more often because it’s the better technology, rather than just win on price,” said Dries Buytaert, co-founder and CTO of Acquia and President of the Drupal Association. “It has the better functionality because we’re a community driven innovation model. That means it has become the better solution.”

The combination of technology, development and business innovation is all coming from a more open and accessible community-based process.

“To call it open source software falls way short of all of these elements coming together,” Vescuso said. “I’d characterize it as open innovation.”

More interesting stats from the study:

Number of Survey Respondents in 2011: 455

Number in 2012: 740

41% Vendors
59% Non-vendors

Top Barriers to Open Source Selection:

Unfamiliarity with open source solutions 48%
Lack of internal technical skills 47%
Lack of formal commercial vendor support 35%

Factors influencing the choice of OSS projects for non-vendors

Project maturity 46%
Availability of commercial support 21%
Size of the community 20%

What aspect of OSS experience is most important to hiring decisions?

Experience with a variety of projects 35%
Code contributions 28%

Hot OSS companies

Red Hat
Canonical
Acquia
Enterprise DB
Google
Ntando