Storage Informer
Storage Informer

Is the current economy good for open source software?

by on Jul.16, 2009, under Storage

Is the current economy good for open source software?

With the economy in a downward spiral, many companies and individuals are changing how they spend money as budgets tighten. I&aposve been an open source software fan since college in the early to mid 1990s. For me, there are many benefits of using open source. Cost is just one of those many benefits, but with the current economy, cost is becoming a primary driver leading more companies to explore open source solutions.

I recently started thinking more about the relationship between the economy and open source software after the Red Hat earnings announcement in late June. Headlines, like this one from Matt Asay, ¡§Red Hat: Bad Economy is good for open source¡¨ started emerging. Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat President and CEO, seemed to fuel the interest in Red Hat&aposs relationship to the economy with this statement: "Budgets remain tight and we don&apost see an end in sight for this. In relative terms, this is pretty good for us."

I decided to dig into this idea a little more to see what research I could find to support the idea that the current economy is driving more open source software adoption. Here are a few data points that support the idea.

IDC Study (PDF link):

¡§53% of respondents are planning to increase adoption of Linux on the server and 48% are planning to increase adoption of Linux on the client as a direct result of the economic climate.¡¨

¡§Looking forward, IDC sees Linux as a platform solution that we expect to thrive in the post-recession time period, especially given the compatibility of Linux with two of the industry&aposs more exciting trends ¡V virtualization and cloud computing.¡¨

Freeform Dynamics Study (sponsored by IBM):

¡§Desktop Linux adoption is primarily driven by cost reduction. When asked during a recent online survey of over a thousand IT professionals with experience of desktop Linux deployment in a business context, over 70% of respondents indicated cost reduction as the primary driver for adoption.¡¨

Forrester Analyst, Jeffrey Hammond on open source software:

¡§Generally, the goal is to save money. That&aposs where organizations tend to start. And then what tends to happen is the more that they become comfortable with using open source, and the more that they apply it successfully, the more they start to realize that there are benefits other than cost savings that they can take advantage of. And that&aposs when you start to see them turn from open source opportunists into open source advocates.¡¨

For pointers to additional research on open source use in the current economy, you might start with these two articles:

There are so many reasons to use open source software. The down economy and lower cost are not the only reason people are moving to open source software, but it does seem to be driving a few more companies into evaluating open source software solutions.

What do you think? Have you noticed any trends toward increased open source software adoption as a result of the down economy?

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