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Gartner: open source to cannibalize proprietary software

Gartner says that open source will chew into proprietary profits. About time.

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
2 min read

First, a little Radiohead to celebrate the occasion (from "Where I End and You Begin"):

I will eat you alive.
There'll be no more lies.

I've been meaning to put together a presentation for OSBC that has this song blaring and statistics of open-source adoption flashing across the screen. Undoubtedly, new data from Gartner Group would provide excellent fodder for such a presentation.

What did Gartner say? That open source is and will continue eating proprietary software alive.

Gartner declared open-source software the biggest disruptor the software industry has ever seen and postulated it will eventually result in cheaper software and new business models.

Open-source products accounted for a 13 percent share of the $92.7 billion software market in 2006, but should account for 27 percent of the market in 2011 when revenue is expected to be $169.2 billion, according to Gartner research....

"Open-source software is going to erode proprietary sales revenue by offering less-expensive or free alternatives, expanding the total market potential by meeting the demands of SMBs for affordable solutions, and creating a new business model for established and emerging service providers to provide selection, customization and management services for open-source solutions," Wurster said.

Gartner did a survey of enterprise IT buyers and found that proprietary software will decline while roll-your-own efforts and open-source adoption will increase.

So, hats off to Oracle and those proprietary vendors who continue to cling to the old world. A few of them will milk it for many years to come. For the rest...let's turn to Eric Clapton, who once declared "You look wonderful tonight." But not in the way Mr. Clapton was thinking.

No, to quote Public Image Limited, "This is not a love song." It's about giving money and value back to customers. It's about changing the industry to serve customer needs, not vendor needs.

It's going to put a fair number of you out of business. Sorry. But we'll hire you and you'll love the freedom that comes with open source.