Forrester's five phases of open-source success

Forrester outlines the adoption pattern for open source within an enterprise, which seems to loosely follow Gandhi's pattern for successful nonviolent resistance.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay

If you walk into the headquarters of open-source leader Red Hat, you'll see this quote from Mahatma Gandhi gracing the wall:

First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.

It's a poignant reminder to Red Hat employees that Wednesday's ridicule of open source has shifted to a market that seemingly can't embrace open source fast enough.

Forrester Research has crafted its own "Five Stages of Open Source Adoption," as published recently in the May 15, 2009, edition of SD Times, which roughly follows the same pattern of doubt-giving-way-to-adoption that Gandhi suggested:

5 Stages of Open-source Adoption Forrester (via SD Times)

I occasionally get requests from IT people as to how they can bring more open source within their organizations. My answer? It depends on what "stage" your company is at.

But one thing is clear: the adoption will happen. As with Gandhi's nonviolent resistance, open source has managed widespread adoption without ugly confrontation, for the most part. Open source doesn't need the CIO's approval. It just has to work.

Indeed, borrowing from the Gandhi idea, open source has won. Open source increasingly finds itself in virtually all software, open source or proprietary.

Now it's just a question of how much--and how, as The 451 Group points out--that victory will pay to its proponents.

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