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Free open-source software: My take on its inexorable rise

Free software is making its presence felt in all walks of life — not just on the desktop

The battle for the desktop is shifting glacially toward Linux but it's a different kettle of percentages for mobile. Every day there are:

  • 371,000 babies born
  • 378,000 iPhones sold
  • One million Android devices activated
  • Only 1.1 million PCs sold

Stats via @zeldman via @lukew via TNW

As we all know, Android has Linux at the heart of it, with a litigious Java platform, which means that it is the powerhouse driving the adoption of free software — although many would argue that it's not really free.

From my own very small web design corner of the universe I can see the inexorable rise of free software. Of my last eight contract roles, four of them were working on either the WordPress or Drupal content management systems.

WordPress seems to be pulled off the free software shelf for some quite brisk and frisky customisation for relatively small client sites, while Drupal is a more of heavyweight alternative. I've also heard good things said about Concrete5's modular structure for swift customisation.

With margins narrowing to near-negative proportions, it's hardly surprising digital agencies are choosing mature and proven free software alternatives. In the same way that Microsoft is losing Team Foundation Server customers to Git, proprietary and custom-built CMSes are losing out to free software.

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