What makes open source software attractive to you?

Posted 19 Jun 2012 by 

Jason Hibbets (Red Hat)
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The quality of open source code increases adoption
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opensource.com

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Freedom from lock-in
50% (88 votes)
Lower cost
8% (15 votes)
Quality
14% (24 votes)
Flexibility
28% (50 votes)
Total votes: 177

Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) attendees are not only learning about new trends in open source, but also hearing the results of the Future of Open Source Software Survey. The survey results were announced during a panel discussion of experts led by Michael Skok, General Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners. Skok lead the discussion of the results and the panel talked about what’s driving industry innovation.

The panel made several references to the previous keynote by Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, talking about why source code is still relevant and the value of information. Joining Skok on the panel discussion was Tom Erickson, CEO of Acquia, Ryan Garner, vice president of direct to consumer at Warner Music Group, Tim Yeaton, CEO of Black Duck Software, and Gil Yehuda, director of open source, open standard at Yahoo!, Inc.

The full report of the survey was made available during the panel, and the analysis of the data was the meat of the discussion. Here were a few points that seemed to resonate with the audience:

  • The 'open source 2.0' movement (their term, not mine) is seeing a shift in adoptions driven by time-to-adopt and cost to adoptions driven by a need to address non-technical staff usability concerns.
  • What makes open source software attractive? The top three results are:
    1. Freedom from lock-in
    2. Lower cost
    3. Quality

The top two reasons, freedom from lock-in and lower cost, remained the same year-over-year. However, item three--the quality of open source code--replaced last years choice, flexibility.

Open source software is making strides in erasing previous perceptions about quality. In the report, you’ll find that the quality of the open source code is now one of the top three reasons for adoption. The quality of code is probably part of why open source is now at the forefront of technology movements like cloud and big data.

Overheard on Twitter

  • We want to apply [open source] technology, not get in the weeds with it - @ryanTgarner from @warnermusic | via @opensourceway
  • By creating and giving open source code, our advantage is that we create the standard - @gyehuda from @Yahoo | via @opensourceway
  • .@tom_eric notes how amazing it is that Facebook just went public on a fully open source infrastructure #osbc <Is there a correlation? | via @mjasay 
  • What is the biggest open source project today? @gyehuda tells @OSBC audience: @DeptVetAffairs Vista project #openhealth #osbc | via @opensourceway
  • 600,000 open source projects. 100+ billion lines of code. 10 million person-years of work. Open source, we've come a long way, baby! | via @mjasay
  • Within one year, we'll have at least 3 open source companies reach 100M [revenue] or primed to go public, predicts @mjskok | via @opensourceway
  • Keeping software secret isn't valuable to us [@Yahoo], how can we contribute back to the open source community - @gyehuda  | via @jhibbets

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Discussion

Why is the quality of open source code better? Add your thoughts to the comments below.

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Jason Hibbets is a project manager in Corporate Marketing at Red Hat where he is the lead administrator, content curator, and community manager for Opensource.com. He has been with Red Hat since 2003 and is the author of, The foundation for an open source city. Prior roles include senior marketing specialist, Red Hat Knowledgebase maintainer, and support engineer. Follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets

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