Where will open source lead?

In his LinuxWorld keynote, Bob Sutor said that open source hasn’t really reached the enterprise application space yet.

I used to say that the top of the stack was proprietary and that open source enters into a space as it becomes commoditized. That was 2001.

Now it’s 2008 and it’s time for open source software to lead.

The community is big enough, vibrant enough, active enough, smart enough to really lead the way in innovating new products, not just creating open source solutions that are equivalent to proprietary ones. I’d argue that this is already being done in spaces like subnotebooks – the Linux ones boot much faster than the Windows ones.

So the question is, not when will open source be in the enterprise application space, but what open source applications will appear that the enterprise doesn’t have a solution for yet?

3 Replies to “Where will open source lead?”

  1. One problem in the corporate world is that there are large numbers of IT employees whose careers are based on their expertise working with big, complicated proprietary enterprise software from companies like Oracle or SAP. This means that although they formally work for company X, and are on the payroll, in many ways they are agents of the proprietary software provider, in that they stand to benefit from increased dependence on that provider. They even benefit from usability problems in the proprietary software, as it makes their own expertise more valuable (since it’s a scarce commodity).

  2. GNU and Linux took off when proprietary development tools were expensive and the common proprietary OS products were bad.
    Today, small business accounting packages are both expensive _and_ bad. And there’s a huge opportunity to sell services that integrate with the accounting software — payroll, credit card processing, banking, training. And hardware products such as scales, printers, and bar code scanners.
    GPL accounting software seems like a no-brainer startup. Maybe the no-brainer part is the problem–people want to do something “innovative” like Yet Another Social Network.

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