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Gartner report forecasts bad news, good news for open source

The Gartner Group has released a preview of a forthcoming report, The State Of Open Source 2008, that contains both good news and bad news for open source. The report is expected to be released next month.
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Written by Paula Rooney on

The Gartner Group has released a preview of a forthcoming report, The State Of Open Source 2008, that contains both good news and bad news for open source. The report is expected to be released next month.

First, the bad news:

1. “By 2013, a majority of Linux deployments will have no real software total cost of ownership (TCO) advantage over other operating systems. “

Here's key excerpt from the report that explains that rationale:

“The costs to implement high-performance, mission-critical infrastructure around the OS will create counterbalancing costs to the savings in the subscription support costs on commodity hardware and associated open-source software. For example, much of the availability, management and DBMS licensing costs will remain proprietary, licensed software," the report states. "In addition, IT architects will confront the same issues of workload management, service levels, premium support, test and certification that characterize other OS environments. Moreover, version control and incompatibilities will continue to plague open-source OSs and associated middleware."

2. “By 2012, software as a service (SaaS) will eclipse open source as the preferred IT cost-cutting method.”

"To an enterprise, embracing software as a service (SaaS) amounts to embracing services in place of software. Both open source and SaaS are priced by subscription and operate on low profit margins," the forecast claims. "Both are an answer to reducing enterprise costs of IT, but the SaaS proposition additionally reduces the requirements for IT technical skills, while open source tends to increase this requirement."

Now, the good news:

3. “By 2012, more than 90% of enterprises will use open source in direct or embedded forms,” the report states.

"Most successful vendors will find ways to leverage open source in technical synergy — focusing their core engineering efforts on true value-added features and functionality above the commoditized layer of open-source software," the report states. "These vendors will integrate with open-source solutions, embed open-source technology as a foundational building block and compete directly with open source only as a last resort."

4. "By 2011, open source will dominate software infrastructure for cloud-based providers, according to another of the report’s predictions.

"Only by radically reducing their infrastructure costs can cloud- based providers offer the pricing models (based on radically lower profit margins) necessary to disrupt the incumbent packaged software."

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