Open-source developers' heads are in the cloud

A survey suggests that 40 percent of the coders plan to deploy applications via the cloud, seemingly overlooking the inapplicability of open-source licensing to the cloud.

Evans Data has published the results of a 360-person survey suggesting that 40 percent of developers working on open-source projects plan to deploy applications via the cloud, as OStatic reports.

The big winner here? Google. Twenty-nine percent of developers surveyed plan to use Google App Engine to deploy their applications, while 15 percent will look to

Microsoft, IBM,, and other cloud initiatives? They apparently don't make the grade, netting far less developer attention.

Other interesting data:

  • Types of open-source applications being developed: "enterprise business application" (30.7 percent), "developer tool" (20.7 percent), "software infrastructure" (15.8 percent), "enterprise systems management" (6.3 percent), and "other" (26.4 percent).
  • Fifty-two percent of developers are using the Linux operating system in a virtualized environment.
  • More than 50 percent of the surveyed developers use MySQL as their database of choice.
  • Thirty percent of open-source applications are delivered via open-source portals (e.g., SourceForge), the biggest source for these applications.
  • However, the report calls out that those who distribute applications through mobile application stores are the most likely to be making money.

John Andrews, CEO of Evans Data, ascribes this shift to cloud computing to a desire to "reduce infrastructure costs but simultaneously increase...computational capabilities."

This makes sense, but one thing that Evans Data should have asked about is licensing. Are these open-source developers worried about keeping their code free (as in freedom, not cost) through SaaS-savvy licenses like the Affero GPL?

Most open-source licenses were written for the old world, when software was distributed through physical media, rather than as a service over a network.

As such, most open-source software--or, rather, its licensing--doesn't translate well to cloud computing, a fact that seems to have been lost on Richard Stallman , creator of the General Public License. Do these developers care? Apparently not.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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