One big trend I saw a lot last year was that products deemed to be uncompetitive by their owners went open source. At the same time, of course, products which began life as open source were becoming competitive in the marketplace.
The next step, naturally, is for products which remain competitive go open source, or those which might become competitive are released first as open source.This occurred to me today on reading this, a rather quiet IBM press release indicating its UIMA source code has been published to SourceForge. (The image comes from the University of Pennsylvania. Go Quakers.)
UIMA is no ordinary piece of code. It's designed to make all sorts of unstructured content readily searchable -- documents, images, comment and note fields, e-mail, video and audio.
Doesn't Google do all of this? It's doing some of this, but UIMA is a technology you can install in your own corporate network, to search your own servers, something you can keep from outsiders, something that hopefully will give you a competitive advantage (or at least parity). IBM has been pushing UIMA for some time, as a proprietary product, and it has a lot of users, as a proprietary product.
Now, with open source, that number will doubtless rise. How high, how fast? Only you have the answer to that. IBM has acknowledged that it no longer does.
Just one small step for IBM, one giant leap for open source.