Commercial Open Source 2009: Challenges and Opportunities

The New Year historically is a time for self improvement, and the commercial open source side of the world should be no exception to that.

Open Source thought leaders have expressed opinions and discussed the state of open source, here are my takes on some challenges and opportunities for the new year.

Opportunities.

My prediction about Red Hat becoming a Gorilla might take place this year. JBoss is contributing to Red Hat success, and considering that open source companies will hardly find more VC fundings, M&A bargains are under the corner.

Foundations are important hubs, Sun with OpenOffice.org is one of my favorite bet, and I am not the only one to tell that. Collaborative development has a tremendous potential, and the economic turmoil will help also customers to explore this path. Projects like openadaptor will see more adopters and contributors, and others will likely come up.

Acquia (Drupal), Sonatype (Maeven), Sourcefire (ClamAV) and Snowflake (typo 3) are four of the many open source vendors appropriating returns from the commons. Different and interesting approaches to create economic value from existing open source products, a still scarcely exploited opportunity in 2008.

Challenges.

Open Source Integration often implies collaboration with proprietary vendors, and comtamunities can help gathering public attention on missing integrations. Pulling companies to move towards open source may become popular. “Lesser blogs” mentioned by Matt Asay, associations, communities and foundations can make a difference here.

No open source ‘lost’ in clouds! Customers, developers and end-users can make a difference, asking for real interoperability. The importance of Open Standards and the “copyleft of the cloud” are key here.

Stopping Software Patents is still a challenge, and not only in Europe.

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