Open source is on the rise in key areas Forrester analyst says

Open source software is on the rise even in enterprise settings, Forrester Research analyst Jeffrey Hammond told a packed room as the All Things Open conference got under way at the Raleigh Convention Center on Wednesday morning.

About 1,000 developers, executives, and entrepreneurs kept followup sessions lively with questions and comments.

Much of the event is highly technical, covering such topics as “Polyglot Programming, on developing apps for Google Glass using Javascript and Ruby on Rails,” and “Django – the High Level Python Web Network.”

Hammond, though followed up his brief morning keynote remarks with a breakout session on “Open Source by the Numbers,” based on Forrester’s Q2 2014 developer foresight survey conducted across 11 countries. The surveys revealed some surprises.

China and India have far greater open source (OS) adoption than the U.S. and Western Europe, for instance. “Less than one percent of those surveyed in China and India say they never used OS,” said Hammond, “compared with 20 percent in the U.S. and 16 percent in France and Germany. We’ve seen the aggregate use in those companies go off the charts in the last five years.””

Not unusally, Hammond noted, students also adopt OS products more than others.

A series of charts based on the surveys show that among developers, 41 percent have used OS relational database management systems, 38 percent used OS operating systems, and 37 percent OS web servers. Other uses such as app servers, management and monitoring and NoSQL databases ranged down from 25 to 11 percent.

Asked which factors affect whether they will use OS, the developers said better quality software was at the top. “That’s a change,” Hammond said. He pointed out that as with all software, you can buy high cost “Cadillac” products or a lower cost “Honda.”

Enterprises tend to go with the higher cost products, assuming they’ll be better, have more features and be more reliable. “But not everyone needs a Cadillac,” Hammond said. Not only that, over time, a Honda may actually be of higher quality as well as lower cost. When that happens, companies may substitute OS products for their more expensive commercial software.

Among the reasons most cited by the developers for adopting OS, the size and momentum of OS communities led at 39 percent, while other reasons include ease of deployment, security concerns, and better features and capabilities.

Regarding ease of deployment, Hammond said many developers will try an OS solution first because going through their acquisitions department can be such a pain, taking weeks or months to get a large project approved. “They’ll try OS first just to avoid the pain of dealing with acquisitions departments,” Hammond said.

Cost does still matter, too. A whopping 88 percent cite lower cost as a problem using OS can solve. Hammond said that using OS may increase labor costs slightly because documentation isn’t always what it should be and a company may need more expert help. But lower capital and operational costs of using OS more than makes up for that, he added.

Not many developers are actually using the Linux OS operating system however. “Only one in eight use Linux,” said Hammond, while a combined 64 percent use Windows 7 or 8.1.

Where is OS poised to lead? In some areas, its actually leading. The developers expect to see it used increasingly in these areas followed by the percentage of developers citing them:

  • Coud/virtualization: 73 percent.
  • Content management: 66 percent
  • Mobile: 61 percent.
  • Security: 59
  • Collaboration: 57.
  • Network managment: 57 percent.
  • Social media: 53 percent.

Wednesday afternoon sessions at the two-day event inlcude Bob Geolas, CEO of Research Triangle Park on “The Future is Dream, Believe and Create” and Gail Roper and Jason HIbbets (of on “How Raleigh Became an Open Source City.”

Bob Young, founder of one of the world’s most successful open source companies, Raleigh-based Red Hat, as well as publish-on-demand firm,, presents “So You Want to Start an Open Source Company” later in the afternoon.

Thursday sessions helmed by execs from Facebook, Red Hat, Cisco, IBM, GitHub, Mozilla (creator of the Firefox web browser), Groupon, among many others.