The Future of Open Source

By Stephen O’Grady, founder of the Red Monk consultancy in Portland.

Just as open source is finally being recognized as the viable model we always believed it to be, it is facing competition that enjoys some of the same advantages over open source that open source had relative to proprietary software.

That competition is the cloud.

Competition is an interesting term to use, to be sure, because the cloud is built for the most part from open source software, and the cloud is such an important channel that it has elevated open source projects such as Ubuntu to first class citizen status…

Does the cloud represent opportunity for open source as well? Undoubtedly. But the future outlook for open source, particularly those who would commercialize it, seems counterintuitively far more murky today than it was in 2005. Open source is rightly being heralded as the default, and having “won.” The difficulty is that in this industry, victories tend to be very short lived.