Apr 3

Nat Torkington

Nat Torkington

Open Source Trends

I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Singapore and China. In China, I spoke at the 2007 Software Innovation Summit - Open Source Software and Trends in Internationalization event organized by Stephen Walli and Anne Stevenson-Yang. Stephen blogged about the event and has posted the slides from the talks. You can get mine here.

I talked about trends we see in Open Source. I identified four trends in the talk:

  • Adoption - we've written the main apps, now the real challenges lay in convincing users to adopt it. Usability, marketing, and support.
  • Freedom Wins - there are crappy business models built around half-hearted adoption of open source. Embrace open source's strengths, don't treat it as a weakness.
  • Web 2.0 is Open Source - the web is built on open source, and the scaling and platform challenges for Web 2.0 are the challenges for open source.
  • Open Beyond Source - the best practices of open source extending to proprietary software development, hardware, and data.

The Open Source Hardware point was particularly timely. Over at Makezine, Phil Torrone observes the 10,000th Arduino board was sold. I first learned of the Arduino early this year at Kiwi Foo Camp when Matt Biddulph, Jon Oxer, and Phil Lindsay hacked a toy car remote control with an Arduino board, Bluetooth, a Mac, and open source. Now Arduino regularly crops up in the del.icio.us bookmarks of my friends, as do other hardware hacking toolkits, and it's used in our upcoming "Making Things Talk" book by Tom Igoe.

Expect these trends, and others, to be explored at OSCON both in the main sessions and in the Radar Executive Briefing. And, of course, here on Radar.

tags: open source  | comments: 4   | Sphere It

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Comments: 4

  visionhack [04.03.07 10:27 AM]

We've written the main apps?

Well, not quite.

What about professional-grad Open Source CAD programs?

What about the fact that no one serious considers doing music production under Linux because of the scarcity of sequencers, synthesizers, and the fact that very few external sound gear (professional sound interfaces, etc) have drivers for Linux?

Which professional photographer would _really_ drop photoshop for the Gimp?

And what about Open Source accounting packages that match QuickBooks?

There's quite a lot left to write.

  gnat [04.03.07 12:49 PM]

visionhack: I fully agree, there's a lot left to write for specialist professional applications. But those feel like the long tail--the big head is the office use of word processing, chat, email, etc. softwarewe have in spades. The specialist stuff can follow, and is part of the filling in the gaps. I can't ever remember reading, in all the years of Linux development, that "we will win when we have an abundance of sequencers for Linux!"

  Sum Yung Gai [04.05.07 01:19 PM]

Accounting software is another biggie. GnuCash is good and works well (I use it), but most small business owners just don't know how to do double-entry accounting. That, and most banks that I've seen that provide on-line accounting services interface with Quicken and QuickBooks.

Also, remember that just about every accountant is already familiar with Quicken and QuickBooks. They don't know anything about GnuCash, even if, once they saw it, they'd probably love it.

  ShenYurt [01.14.08 10:56 AM]

yes.. that is great thnx

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