In March of this year, representatives from more than 100 software companies met to discuss the state of open-source software. Their conclusions are described in a 16-page report, “2007 Open Source Think Tank: The Future of Commercial Open Source,” which is free to download (PDF).The Open Source Think Tank report contains some surprising conclusions. For instance, participants noted a growing similarity in methods between open-source and proprietary software development. They predicted some kind of convergence, where the best of both approaches gets adopted in each camp.
The idea of convergence seems counterintuitive. For instance, at last year’s Open Source Think Tank meeting, participants were expecting open-source software to achieve greater predominance. However, licensing and support issues have slowed the adoption of open-source solutions at the enterprise level. At the same time, proprietary software developers can’t match the pace and scope of open-source development efforts.
Open source suffers from monetization problems, unlike the proprietary software industry. However, open source is superior to the proprietary approach by its community involvement and rapid development cycle times. The hybrid approach thus represents the “best of both worlds,” according to the report.