Survey: Economy pushing users to open source

Results of a recent poll show that the stagnant economy may be leading more and more organisations to adopt open source software to save on licensing fees.

In the first annual survey of its membership and other open source software and services companies, the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) found that the stagnant economy may be helping to push the growth in open source adoption.

In a survey of more than 100 of its member organisations, the OSA found that 83 percent said that expect to see a year-over-year increase in revenue in 2008 from open source related software and services.

Indeed, 78 percent of survey participants reported that the affordable price of open source software is motivating their customers.

Dominic Sartorio, senior director of product management for SpikeSource and president of the Open Solutions Alliance, told eWEEK: "We see that the market for commercial open source software and services is growing and growing fast. And I see the economy contributing to that because of the cost."

Sartorio said the survey also showed that open source companies are serious about collaboration. Nearly all of the survey respondents — 97 percent — reported that they have active partnerships with other open source software and services companies. And the average survey participant had 10 such partnerships, he said.

"We knew that collaboration was important to open source companies, but this statistic was surprising," Sartorio said.

The survey also showed that nearly 85 percent of the companies polled said they sell open source products or services that run on Microsoft Windows or otherwise interoperate with Microsoft products.

"Microsoft is an important partner to numerous open source companies and will continue to be more so moving forward," said Anthony Gold, vice president and general manager for the Open Source Business at Unisys and an OSA board member.

"Enterprises need to maximize their IT resources and many realise that a hybrid Microsoft-open source environment can be the best option for their requirements.

The OSA's Open Source Market Survey conducted in late June covered a number of topics of interest to the open source community. Other key findings include that most open source companies surveyed -- 85 percent -- have operations outside the United States and of those, 58 percent say they see more widespread open source adoption outside the U.S.

Also, 72 percent of respondents said software-as-a-service is an important part of their business strategy.

Meanwhile, more than half, or 56 percent of survey participants said their customers were concerned about interoperability between open source applications. And 79 percent said their customers were concerned about interoperability between open source and proprietary solutions.

The OSA released the findings of its survey at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Ore., which ran July 21-25. For the full survey report, go to the Open Solutions Alliance website at

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