Open Source Software: The real benefits
Open source software is everywhere within user organizations. It is considered acceptable and desirable by user executives for all software categories, in all aspects of the enterprise.
Open source software is sought out, considered and evaluated for more than half of all business software acquisitions worldwide.
User organizations see significant business and competitive value from their use of open source software. Users are drawn to open source due to it's:
-Low cost of acquisition;
-Independence from vendor release and licensing requirements; and
-Ability to manipulate source code -- even by the smallest enterprises.
As a result, open source software has a large and growing, and increasingly unseen, presence within user organizations. The presence of open source is much larger than previously reported - and getting harder to audit and manage. Low cost and ability to manipulate source code means that open source software is (and will be) integrated into user environments, commercial software solutions, and software delivered as a service (SaaS).
It is this mixed-source, "hidden" presence that will change the nature of business software, the software industry itself, and user IT management, within three to five years. A lack of software standardization, increasingly varied and complex code licensing agreements, community development environments, and vendors' need to protect intellectually property (and customer bases) mean that user IT and Finance executives will have their hands full with spiralling requirements for managing technology, IT licensing, and vendor relationships. Vendors will have their own pressing issues, from new competitors to their own licensing issues - with vast changes in technology and product/service development methods and costs.