What's Coming for Open Source in 2010
With the end of the year quickly approaching, it's time for a few 2010 predictions. This past year was a big one for open source. Just think, back in March, it wasn't clear whether Google's open source Android platform had any future at all, but now it's absolutely flourishing. Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun was a huge story this year, and it's still making headlines as the deal sits stalled by European regulators. There were lots of other notable stories. In this post, you'll find many predictions for open source in 2010, and the reasons for them.
M&A will pick up. Gartner researchers recently predicted that mergers and acquisitions will happen at a "frenetic" pace next year--across the whole tech industry. There are a lot of promising young commercial open source companies that can be bought cheaply (Cloudera and Eucalyptus Systems come to mind), and I think we'll see that happen.
Google's Chrome OS won't be as successful as some think. Techies love to love anything Google, and there is a lot of positive buzz surrounding next year's Chrome OS operating system from the company. The OS takes some big risks, though. In particular, it requires users to work with data exclusively in the cloud. Many users will find that model too restrictive, and, although some people will adopt Chrome OS, it's not likely to make big waves in 2010.
More big companies will adopt/accelerate open source strategies. This year, the rapid ramp-up of Andorid's success taught many big companies a serious lesson on the power of open source. Nokia and Microsoft are having their mobile divisions' lunches eaten by Android. Microsoft is also rapidly losing market share to Mozilla's open source Firefox browser. Next year, some of the largest tech companies around will have to adopt new open source strategies, and accelerate existing ones.
The Red Hat business model will produce more successful companies. Red Hat's business model of selling subscription support for open source software has worked exceedingly well for the company. There are quite a few young commercial open source companies adopting the same support-centric model. Acquia supports Drupal. Cloudera supports Hadoop, and Eucalyptus Systems supports the open source Eucalyptus cloud platform. What will make these companies succeed is a combination of the support model with fast-rising open source platforms.