The Scope of the Opportunity 3/4

tl;dr: The scope of the opportunity at hand is large, much larger than today’s impact of open source.

The software industry is large; all other industries together that need software are larger. Much larger.

Today’s open source software is mostly serving the needs of software vendors. When you look at the projects guided by the ASF, the EF, or the LF, you’ll see a lot of infrastructure, technology, and utility components for the software industry. There are not a lot of components for application domains, be it banking, energy, logistics, or agriculture.

As the understanding of open source spreads, these other industries, the software-using but not software-producing-and-selling industries will start to understand its benefits. This is exemplified by the phenomenon of supposed “vanity foundations” that triggered this thread, which I call user consortia (lacking a better word). For universities, there is Kuali, for energy there is openKONSEQUENZ and more recently, LF Energy, and for the motion picture industry there is now the ASWF. I have plenty of other examples, as we are actively researching this phenomenon.

These companies will bring a lot of money to the table to sponsor and steer the development of open source software. Eventually, I expect this to be much more money than what the software industry is currently spending on open source software development.

Software maybe eating the world, but it may eventually not be the software vendors, who do most of the eating, but rather the other industries. The opportunity couldn’t be much larger.

Next: How to Capture Open Source User Consortia 4/4

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