It takes an open-source village to make commercial software

It takes an open-source village to make commercial software

Summary: Looking ahead, the Linux Foundation sees 80 percent of all commercial software development being based on open source.


Napa Valley, CA: At the Linux Foundation's Linux Collaboration Summit, an invitation-only event for top Linux and open source developers, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Foundation, said in the keynote: "Open source will be the new Pareto Principle." By that, he meant that 80 percent of technology value—whether it's  from smartphones, TVs, or IT—will be coming from open source software development with only 20 percent coming from proprietary programming.

Importance of Collab Develop
Open-source collaborative software development has become vital for top technology businesses IT research development.

As Zemlin pointed out, "Np one makes anything these days without open source software. Phones, TVs, even at Apple, you'll find the GPL and dozens of open source programs being used in every single iPhone and iPad."

He wasn't just picking on Apple, which has a long history of repurposing open source software. Mac OS X at its root grows from the fertile earth of BSD Unix. In The Linux Foundation's just released Collaborative Development Trends Report, Zemlin said, "We see many companies have already moved to open source software. This report shares the results of an invitation-only survey of nearly 700 software developers and business managers about their participation and investments in collaborative development practices."

The companies polled are the industry leaders driving this collaborative development revolution and include such top IT businesses as Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Google, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm, and Samsung. The majority of respondents (69 percent) work at organizations with $500 million or more in annual revenue and more than 500 employees (76 percent).

In particular, this survey looked at open source collaborative projects. As Zemlin said in his keynote, "The rise of Linux and open source tools and components in the enterprise software industry over the past decade has been well documented. More recently, a new business model has emerged in which companies are joining together across industries to share development resources and build common open source code bases on which they can differentiate their own products and services. … In the past, collaboration was done by standards committees; now it's being done by open source foundations."

The key findings from the report were:

Companies get involved in collaborative software development to advance business objectives and to be part of industry innovation. Ninety-one percent of business managers and executives surveyed ruled collaborative software development somewhat to very important to their business. And nearly 80 percent say collaborative development practices have been seen as more strategic to their organization over the past three years. Nearly half of business managers surveyed said they prioritize collaborative development because it allows them to innovate and/or help transform their industry.

Investments in collaborative software development are on the rise.  Among business managers and executives, 44 percent said they would increase their investments in collaborative software development in the next six months; 42 percent said they would sustain their current investment, and no one reported they would decrease their investment.

Sixty-three percent of software developers surveyed said they spend more time now on collaborative software development, compared with five years ago. And 59 percent reported increased participation in collaborative software development in just the last year. Individual developers and businesses both benefit from the trend toward collaboration. Eighty-three percent of software developers said they benefited personally from collaborative development through exposure to new tools and development practices. More than 77 percent of business managers said collaborative development practices have benefited their organizations through a shorter product development cycle/faster time to market.

"Linux is the largest collaborative development project in the history of computing and has paved the way for other collaborative efforts to accelerate technology advancements and dramatically reduce research and development costs," concluded Zemlin. "These collaborative development practices are dramatically disrupting the way technologies are built and distributed, and the new Collaborative Development Trends Report helps inform how and what we can expect in the coming months."

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Topics: Enterprise Software, Linux, Open Source, Software Development

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  • Hopefully, little will be GPL

    GPL is, by far, the most restrictive and strict Copyright of all the Open Source licenses. Apache, BSD and others are much better and much more open.
    • GPL prevents people from taking without giving anything back

      I therefore assume that you just want to take Open Source code, and not give anything back.
      • I want the option. Plain and simple.

        The issue with GPL is it is a massive rights grab. Not only do you have to give over your improvements to the base (something I have done on many occasions) but also all derived works (something I refuse to do) and that is why I steadfastly to base ANY work on GPL and will ALWAYS use much more liberal OSL based code.

        In short, GPL is the ultimate in software socialism and I strongly dislike it.
        • The LGPL doesn't do that, fortunately

          I am more than happy to share back improvements and changes to a system.... but if a GPL library that does a minor thing touches a major system, one you may have spent decades on, the whole thing has to be open sourced.

          And a lot of guys doing quote unquote "open source" software know this.... they loudly proclaim on their site that their little library is open source. Only when you go there, you learn they've used the most viral license they can find, one almost impossible to adhere to, and tell you that for $10,000 bucks you can get a commercial per one processor license to run it.

          That should tell a person everything they need to know about ultra-viral licensing. It isn't being done to promote free software - it is being done to corral you down a "buy it commercially" pathway.
        • re: I want the option. Plain and simple.

          > The issue with GPL is it is a massive rights grab.
          > Not only ... improvements ... but also all derived works

          You make no sense because under copyright law you have no rights to your derived work to begin with. I.e., you have no rights in the derived work that can be "grabbed" by the GPL. By definition.
          none none
        • You want the option to TAKE

          I wish my local supermarket gave me the option to TAKE without paying, but "oddly enough" it doesn't either.

          A GPL codebase is likely to be the distributed modifications of many other developers before you - it is designed to be a "shared pool". You basically want to be able to take code out of that pool without having to put anything back in, which is greedy and selfish.

          The "price" of accessing a shared pool is agreeing to share your contributions in return.

          Learn to share, Bruizer.
          • Did you read Bruizer's post correctly? He left out "refuse"...

            Maybe I'm wrong but i read it that like most of us, he simply left out "refuse" by accident. His statement:
            "that is why I steadfastly to base ANY work on GPL and will ALWAYS use much more liberal OSL based code" obviously, to me, is missing "refuse" after "steadfastly.
            He is just saying he doesn't like GPL and uses other licensing.
            What's wrong with that? Does he have to use what you are pushing? He was right when he called it software socialism. Not only does it force you to share all of your work, but those that back it seem to get a bit riled when someone says they prefer other licensing that doesn't require software socialism.

            As always, sharing leads to parity, which leads to mediocrity. It's been shown time and time again. The best software in the world is licensed in a way to allow developers to retain their hard earned work, thus giving a much bigger motivation to write the best code.
      • As someone who has done copyleft software and music

        I'm actually OK with that. A Creative Commons CC-BY Share-Alike is actually a very restrictive license, in a lot of ways. What if someone wants to use a guitar part in a commercial? Would Coke put an ad out with a share-alike license, letting Pepsi use the exact same ad? Or what if the distribution channel doesn't really allow share-alike, like posting a video with a song to Vimeo? I get why that might be a problem.... I've made a lot of restrictions with share alike.

        I put stuff out with the CC-BY or CC-BY-NC licenses, and I'll do software with one of the permissive licenses (LGLP at worst.) I don't want to give people headaches, or need a lawyer to figure out how to comply.

        The GPL, particularly terrible licenses like the Affero license, is a very restrictive license. Stallman may put his mitre and crozier on and pontificate about freedoms, but an Affero license isn't really very free... a website may really not be software in any meaningful sense, and be no more than some database connection strings and a few lite personalization calls to a MySQL server - and the site nonetheless has to put that code out, and risk their DB password leaking out there? Damn stupid, and for no benefit, as far as I am concerned.
    • Bruizer: "Hopefully, little will be GPL"

      The GPL has worked out very well for the Linux kernel.

      There also seems to be a fair amount of choice amongst open source projects by license. One operating system example is FreeBSD where both Apple, for OS X/iOS, and Sony, for Playstation 4, have opted to dip into FreeBSD instead of using Linux. Presumably, the license was a factor in their decisions. FreeBSD is also used for firewall appliances. Some other examples:

      o LibreOffice is LGPL, while OpenOffice is Apache 2.0
      o MariaDB is GPL, while PostgreSQL uses its own PostgresSQL license (which is BSD-like)

      The Netezza data warehouse appliance, now under IBM's umbrella, was based on PostgreSQL source code.

      One just needs to find an appropriate open source project with a suitable license, where suitability is in the eye of the beholder.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • it is not because open source

    But because the libs are free.
    • Correct answer

      You're completely correct, good quality and free will get used, then add in some closed code to add a few features and knit it all together
      • open-source created quality

        If a lib has a lot of users (testing) and a healthy development community (features), it will be high quality.

        This self-reinforcing feedback loop is slow to start, but resilient to many of the issues that have historically plagued successful proprietary libraries and components.

        "Linux is the largest collaborative development project in the history of computing and has paved the way for other collaborative efforts to accelerate technology advancements and dramatically reduce research and development costs," concluded Zemlin.
        • You mean the way the GIMP is resilient next to say

          lame PhotoShop?



  • What was that...

    ...about too many cooks spoiling the soup?
  • I recently discovered the Yocto Project

    for embedded Linux development. I truly believe that collaborative OSS development is the future of connected devices.

    Here is the video that I ran across while watching something on Hulu:

    It was a commercial that came on during a show I was watching. Since seeing it I have done a bit of searching and found

    Looks like a great collaboration effort to make embedded Linux development more agile and provide templates, tools and methods to help you create custom Linux-based systems for embedded products regardless of the hardware architecture.

    It was founded in 2010 as a collaboration among many hardware manufacturers, open-source operating systems vendors, and electronics companies to bring some order to the chaos of embedded Linux development.
  • Invitation only polling?

    No wonder the chart looks like it does, was it the same "invitation only" (so much for inclusiveness in open source) group that were polled. Sounds like it was people already known to use open source. This is worse than the MSFT sponsored surveys, it doesn't even pretend to not be one sided.
    For the most part the only software being "shared" among companies to reduce cost is generic non-revenue producing systems.
    The real bread and butter software is still being written inhouse on a Windows Server domain.
    Open source creates a parity among companies, and as can be seen in any other walks of life, parity breeds mediocrity. That is why any Linux based phone or tablet I have ever tried is either really clunky, or really really slow (Samsung Galaxy - only buy if you want a decent camera and a very slow smart phone)
    Windows 8 phones and tablets are the new breed of mobile computing that is finally doing away with the static icon based UI that has been arouind for so many decades now.
    • Speak for yourself please!

      "Invitation only" because if it was open to anyone, they would need a venue capable of holding millions of people. Maybe you can suggest a venue with a 500M capacity?

      The poll was send to many companies, not just ones already involved in open-source, but you don't want hear that, do you?

      As to 'bread and butter software', it is time for you to catch up with the rest of us. All the listed companies, and many more, are doing just fine with open-source based products.

      Finally, since we can tell you love MS, and hate anything else, your opinion (or should I say FUD?) of Android phones is really meaningless. My 2 year old Nexus still runs circles around the latest WP.
      • I was speaking for myself, and anyone w/o bias...

        Did you follow the link to the report? Obviously not or you'd have read this:

        "The report is the result of an invitation-only survey The Linux Foundation sent to its members during the first week of March 2014. Admittedly this group will have a positive bias towards collaborative software development "

        LOL!! SVJN has done it again.
    • re: Invitation only polling?

      > This is worse than the MSFT sponsored surveys,
      > it doesn't even pretend to not be one sided.

      LOL because lopsided MSFT surveys that pretend to be fair are SO much better!
      none none
    • Huh?

      "Windows 8 phones and tablets are the new breed of mobile computing that is finally doing away with the static icon based UI that has been arouind for so many decades now."

      So, Android only has static icons, right? Oh, wait! They have widgets, which is what inspired the tiles used in Win8. Real-time data displayed from the "icon". Don't know how that's a static icon, but believe what you want.