Survey: 56% expect that more than half of all software spend over next 5 years will be open source

More than half of all software purchases made over the next five years will be open source, according to half of all respondents in a venture capital firm's survey released today. Open source is now mainstream and is in high growth, propelled by SaaS, cloud, mobile and big data trends, according to the Future of Open Source 011 survey, which was co-produced by the 451Group

More than half of all software purchases made over the next five years will be open source, according to half of all respondents in a significant survey released today.

Although 95 percent of the same survey’s 450 respondents believe that the “turbulent “ economy is good for open source software, avoiding vendor lock-in has supplanted lowered software cost as the chief reason for open source adoption.

These findings, included in the fifth annual Future of Open Source survey, conducted by North Bridge Venture Partners (NBVP) and 451Group, were made public today at the Open Source Business Conference.  The venture capital firm invests in many open source firms including Acquia, which is highlighted in the report and at the conference.

The overall finding: open source has gone mainstream and is in high growth mode.

Lower software costs are still important (No.  2 on the list)  but customers increasingly value open source because it protects them from traditional vendor lock-in (Oracle, for example) as well as emerging proprietary cloud providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft Azure.

Makes sense. Emerging technology segments such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), private cloud, public cloud, big data and mobile are driving much of the growth in open source,” according to the authors of the report.

Michael Skok, managing partner of the venture capital firm, says the survey results demonstrate that open source is now fully mainstream in the enterprise. He noted that roughly 60 percent of this year’s respondents were end users and c-level execs in the enterprise and that open source has now penetrated about one third of all enterprises.

“Open source in [respondents’ surveys] show it reaching 30 per penetration in the enterprise and Red Hat is showing unbelievable growth,” said Skok, in a recent interview. “Open source has gone mainstream and is in very high growth, first in mobile and in database. “

“Where is the growth? The top driver is mobile [and] … the success of Android," said Skok. "Open source projects have doubled in each of the last three years in mobile.”

Interestingly, IP litigation and security worries don’t merit among the top three concerns of respondents.

In 2011, open source consumers "are now more focused on maturing technology issues, including improved operational excellence around areas such as support, product management, feature functionality and return on investment. This is in contrast to earlier years where the survey had pointed to things such as the legal implications of licensing and conforming to internal policies."