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The Open Source Shift

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Perceptions about open source have dramatically shifted in the past two years.  

There is a lot of speculation regarding why businesses and industries formerly reluctant to officially encourage open source software use have suddenly embraced it. Most often fingered as the culprit was fear of legal liability.

"In the past, many organizations worried about the merging of OSS and proprietary software because of the possible legal ramifications involved. These concerns were so prevalent that 42% of businesses were hesitant to adopt open source." (Source: Silicon Republic)

A reduced liability risk is one potential cause. Another catalyst is the driving force of digital transformation. Open source certainly supports the need to deliver faster and more frequently, a common refrain from business, developers, and IT operations under pressure to digitally transform IT.  Every industry and analyst survey echoes the same driving forces behind digital transformation - and ultimately a willingness to embrace open source software. "90% of companies said that open source software increased efficiency, interoperability, and innovation. Use of open source software increased at 65% of companies in 2016." (Source: Black Duck Software

We can see the impact on open source adoption in our own surveys as well. Over the course of just one year, we see digital transformation increasingly driving the adoption of open source software across all industries and companies of every size. 

We see the dominance of open source software in its inclusion in software across every industry. Applications today are comprised mainly of third-party components, many of those being open source libraries and frameworks. Indeed, much of the Internet runs on open source. Linux, perhaps the most famous of all open source projects, is the bulk of the 68% of sites running on Unix-like systems on the Internet. And Android continues to hammer at IOS in the mobile market, claiming 45% of the market compared to Apple's 54%.

The market wants fast, frictionless, free value. That often means open source. 

We see this in customers who want what they need now, and don’t want to wait for it. They want integration with the latest operational toolchains from Jenkins to Ansible, from terraforming AWS and Azure to automated pipelines that drive deployments in their organizations. They have deadlines, and open source solutions is one of the ways they're going to meet them.

This shouldn't be a surprise. IT operations is now virtually open source-native. Of the most popular open source projects in 2018, the category of IT operations is in the top three - behind data & analytics and DevOps-enabling tools. The market is going to continue to demand faster, frictionless value-added solutions as pressure mounts on them to digitally transform IT to support the application economy.

Beyond required day to day operations in IT are very specific, bespoke processes and integrations. Much of IT is migrating from managing devices to delivering services and integrating systems that manage the operational data business and IT needs to make decisions. These are the IT operations that are driving the market toward open source and community supported solutions.

Like developers, they are turning to GitHub and Docker to find and implement the integrations and automation they need to deliver on their businesses demand to get to market faster and more frequently. They're managing three and four-times the number of applications they once were thanks to microservices and mobile. They're deploying apps at home in the data center as well as the cloud. They can no longer wait for traditional release cycles. 

That’s why we’re increasingly delivering on integrations and automations in an open source way. There’s BigStats from Nathan Pearce and terraforming BIG-IP in AWS or Azure and delivering on configuration as code with GitHub Webhooks, among a quickly growing repository of scripts and integrations that serve to jump start IT operations.

The market is turning to open source, particularly to transform IT operations. The shift in attitudes toward open source have made repositories the equivalent of social networks. Ten years ago, organizations compiled short lists from reviews and tech publications. They traded notes in e-mail and at conferences.

Today, those same companies scour open source repositories to narrow down the competition instead.

Open source is here to stay. 

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