Diffusion of Open Source Innovation

Dana Blankenhorn‘s blog post “Open Source still not the first option” says that established markets are the natural fit for open source, while new markets are usually served by proprietary solutions first.

Low-end market disruption – actually occurring when technology advances faster than customers’ needs (e.g. MySQL vs Oracle, Alfresco vs Filenet) – happens in the first stages of maturity in open source adoption, while sustaining innovation probably happens at a later stage.

The open source innovation backbone for startups mentions Google, FaceBook and Twitter sustaining innovations, reporting that are all heavily based on open source software. Beyond standing on giants’ shoulders, companies like Google are engaged at tactical and strategic level with open source communities, and they are not alone.

Twitter few days ago made public its open source love, disclosing contributions to 29 different projects and making names of all their contributors. Looking at the Twitter open source directory and reading the twitter engineering blog is clear that they invest time and effort to qualify, select and write open source software. Twitter as Google is at the fifth stage (aggressive):

design products so that they can be based on FLOSS, obtain competitive advantage by harnessing changes in multiple ecosystems.

Open source is both market evolution and revolution in action.