The wind beneath the wings of open source is reaching hurricane velocities. A swirl of consumer and business needs, data and rich media are creating a vortex that will be impossible for any of us to ignore by year’s end. All indicators suggest that open source is poised to take flight with broader wings this coming year. Here are some exciting trends you may want to track. These trends all relate to unprecedented growth in information and in the way we process it in our expanding digital world.
In 2006, applications were still chasing their markets. But in 2007, markets will be looking for open source applications. A strong indicator of this trend is the enthusiasm shown by venture capital to invest heavily in a broad range of open source businesses. MySQL is a great example. The company just completed raising $18.5 million dollars in Series C funding and the database market seems now to be clamoring for MySQL’s solutions and services.
OSS is no longer growing just vertically but in every direction possible.
As Linux becomes a commodity platform, the business value is moving upstream into the application stack. Vertical applications such as SugarCRM, Alfresco and Plone along with their support services will make a sizable impact in the enterprise space this year. Furthermore, open source applications are no longer growing just vertically but in every direction. For example, Asterisk in 2007 will continue to transform the horizontal infrastructure of the telephony world and JBoss will broadly challenge the entire middleware market.
If you think you did not have a data problem in 2006, you will begin to really feel it in 2007. Documents, music, movies, photos, maps, email will increase exponentially with ever higher resolution and an ever greater variety of sources. TMI (too much information) will force new strategies for data storage and management. Open source is rising to the challenge, providing more integrated and innovative solutions such as the Parakey web operating system and the Flock media sharing and social networking browser.
Rich Media All Over
Remember those black and white TVs when you were a kid. We’ve moved from boring 2D black and white images to multi-dimensional color realism. Look out for even greater realism in the open source world through snazzy compositing engines like Compiz and Beryl on your Linux desktop.
2006 witnessed Google’s $1.65 billion purchase of YouTube which validated the potential for Video on the Net (VoN). Google and Yahoo will be offering more “software-as-services” similar to Google Maps, Docs and Spreadsheets, Yahoo’s Flickr and Del.icio.us. Multimedia social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook will continue to capture more eyeballs. Apple’s iTV service following in the footsteps of iPods and iTunes will spark creation of open source clones and complementary open source software projects.
Growth is unstoppable
As 2007 plays out, the network effects of exponential digital growth will impact open source applications, data and media. We may even see the reversal of roles between open source and its market. By year end, both consumer and enterprise IT markets could be chasing the open source hurricane for its unique ability to produce innovative solutions at Internet speed.
Happy New Year OSS!