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Analyst: open source officially crosses the chasm into mainstream adoption

Open source has officially "crossed the chasm from early adoption to mainstream adoption," one top analyst announced at LinuxCon.Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forreseter Research, said he bases his broad conclusion on several surveys peformed in 2010 which indicate that almost 70 percent of corporate customers say they are using Linux at the operating system layer, 65 percent are using open source at the database tier and about 60 percent are now using GPL-based programming languages.

Open source has officially "crossed the chasm from early adoption to mainstream adoption," one top analyst announced at LinuxCon.

Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forreseter Research, said he bases his broad conclusion on several surveys peformed in 2010 which indicate that almost 70 percent of corporate customers say they are using Linux at the operating system layer, 65 percent are using open source at the database tier and about 60 percent are now using GPL-based programming languages.

"We've moved from a 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy into strategic adoption," Hammond said during his keynote at LinuxCon Wednesday. "Take your victory lap and we'll move on."

Ironically, another key indicator of open source's acceptance is that it slipped on the list of top strategic priorities of IT architects and CIOs.

"We saw it was not quite as important in 2010 as in [our] 2009 survey. It's not top of list but there's good reason for that: it's already happened. We're there. We asked developers and asked different [users] using open source and its all over the place," he said, noting, however, that open source still tops the survey in terms of technology deployment for this year.

In one of the surveys aimed at a group composed of quite a few .NET developers, only one in five said they are not using any open source and roughly 20 percent say they are contibuting to at least one open source project, Hammond said.

IT pros remain interested in using open source to reduce costs and integrate disparate technologies, as was indicated in last year's survey, but two other priorities popped up in the same survey in 2010: "improving the speed of business processes and getting in position to support growth when we come out of the recession,"Hammond said.

Linux advocates should highlight the secondary benefits of open source to address these next gen requirements, namely enhanced speed and flexibility and increased developer engagement, which occurs when customers feel less like curators of proprietary software and more like owners of their  infrastructure from "stem to stern," Hammond said.

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