This weekend, Matt Asay took one study and spun two different conclusions from it:
- Proprietary vendors will still have 85% of the software market in three years, and
- Enterprises are moving to open source in droves.
Both can be true because the software market is enormous, $172 billion this year growing another $100 billion over the next three years. Open source is still at the bottom of its demand curve. (Picture from Trinities, a religious blog.)
That's not true everywhere. Basic Linux server licenses are not growing that rapidly. And many open source vendors must compete directly with their own customers -- everything is a make-or-buy decision once the open source commitment is made.
This has a direct impact on your own company's open source strategy. Microsoft and Oracle are not going away, and neither is pressure from patent trolls. On the other hand, demand will continue strong, and this is a niche, not a bubble.
But generally one can go all Dickens on the numbers from Saugatuck Technologies and say it's both the best of times and the worst of times.
So is open source, in this example, London or Paris? Is open source still a revolution or just a rising business tide which lifts all seaworthy boats? For those seeking a less literary allusion, is the open source glass half-empty or half-full?