FOSSBazaar: Open Source Under the CIO’s Radar Screen: Good or Bad?

Commercial open source has a peculiar sales process. Frequently, when a firm decides to buy (license) a specific type of software like a content management system or a wiki engine, they’ll find that their company already employs multiple solutions, downloaded for free from the Internet. By some measures, this is dangerous to IT governance, as it bypasses corporate purchasing and operating regulations. On the other hand, open source empowers IT users to make their own decisions early on without having to go through lengthy approval processes, keeping them nimble and speedy. So, is commercial open source good or bad for IT operations and the CIO?

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Archived copy of article.

SDN: Is Open Source Competing Unfairly?

Commercial open source firms go to market trying to create an “unfair” competitive advantage that lets them win customers more easily than their competitors. So do most other companies. Commercial open source firms do this by bypassing the traditional purchasing process by getting their software into customer companies for free, before the customers even know they will need the software. But is an employee’s decision to install a piece of open source software a good decision for the company? After all, every software locks in its users, whether open source or not.

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Commercial, Professional, and Community Open Source: Resolving the Naming Confusion

As a researcher, imprecise naming bothers me. The general confusion around the terms commercial open source, professional open source, and community open source warrants closer analysis.

First my proposal, then some litmus tests, followed by a bit of history.

  • Commercial open source is software provided as open source where a single legal entity owns the rights to the software (SugarCRM, Alfresco, etc.)
  • Professional open source is software provided as open source where a dominant firm provides services around the software without actually owning it (JBoss, Spring, etc.)
  • Community open source is software provided as open source where multiple stakeholders hold the rights and no player dominates the software (Linux, Apache, etc.)

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The Total Growth of Open Source [OSS 2008]

Authors: Amit Deshpande, Dirk Riehle

Abstract: Software development is undergoing a major change away from a fully closed software process towards a process that incorporates open source software in products and services. Just how significant is that change? To answer this question we need to look at the overall growth of open source as well as its growth rate. In this paper, we quantitatively analyze the growth of more than 5000 active and popular open source software projects. We show that the total amount of source code as well as the total number of open source projects is growing at an exponential rate. Previous research showed linear and quadratic growth in lines of source code of individual open source projects. Our work shows that open source is expanding into new domains and applications at an exponential rate.

Reference: In Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS 2008). Springer Verlag, 2008. Page 197-209.

Available as a PDF file or in HTML, also see the Addendum.

Global Open Source Trends and Public Initiatives

I’ll be moderating the experts panel on “Global Open Source Trends and Public Initiatives” at the half-day Global Open Source Conference on March 24th, 2008, in San Francisco. Panel participants are Mark Radcliffe of DLA Piper, Sander Ruiter from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Tony Wasserman of CMU West, and Arnaud Le Hors of IBM. The event precedes the Open Source Business Conference which will start the next day.

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Continuous Integration in Open Source Software Development [OSS 2008]

Authors: Amit Deshpande, Dirk Riehle

Abstract: Commercial software firms are increasingly using and contributing to open source software. Thus, they need to understand and work with open source software development processes. This paper investigates whether the practice of continuous integration of agile software development methods has had an impact on open source software projects. Using fine-granular data from more than 5000 active open source software projects we analyze the size of code contributions over a project’s life-span. Code contribution size has stayed flat. We interpret this to mean that open source software development has not changed its code integration practices. In particular, within the limits of this study, we claim that the practice of continuous integration has not yet significantly influenced the behavior of open source software developers.

Reference: In Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS 2008). Springer Verlag, 2008. Page 273-280.

Available as a PDF file.

SDN: Is there Money in Open Source Services?

IDC’s Matt Lawton recently released a new report about open source adoption:

“However, project vendors, project partners, and vendor partners need to step up and provide support and attendant services in order to move the adoption of OSS from early adopters to the mainstream. Only 12% of all projects are supported by a commercial software vendor, and, incredibly, less than 1% of the projects have attendant services sourced from service providers.” […]

Wow! Open source is in the enterprise, and only 1% of those off-the-shelf software components have attendant services for them?

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