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"Confusion and angst": Why consolidation is good for open source

Consolidation is not good for customers. It's great for open-source vendors, however.

I spent some time today with Matt Vitale, executive vice president of Sales at Pentaho, about how things are going at the open-source Business Intelligence company. Very well, and as it turns out, the consolidation in the BI market is helping to turn good quarters into great ones from the sales perspective.

Cognos, Hyperion, and Business Objects have all been put on the auction block and have found new homes in ever-dwindling numbers of software vendors. As Matt suggested, this consolidation has helped to create a "perfect storm" of customer "confusion and angst," a lack of vendor choice and visibility into the future of chosen products, and the omnipresent expensive and proprietary bloatware. All of this is pointing to alternatives like Software as a Service and open source.

As for whether the open-source market is being set against itself, Matt noted something that I've heard from a wide range of open-source companies: he rarely sees Actuate, JasperSoft, or other open-source competitors. This has been my personal experience. Open-source vendors and projects tend not to get pitted against each other - not yet, at least. Today we're competing with the dinosaur vendors of yesterday's industry.

That competition is easy. The only thing the incumbents have going for themselves is friction.

I'm hoping that the industry will continue to consolidate. Perhaps then the fast pace at which enterprises are adopting open source will become even more frenzied.