10th Anniversary of the Future of Open Source:

The 2016 North Bridge & Black Duck Future of Open Source Study marks the 10th Anniversary of this survey. The study examines open source software trends on an annual basis. Notably, the 2016 survey findings position open source as today’s preeminent architecture, the foundation for nearly all applications, operating systems, cloud computing, databases, and big data.   Just eight years ago, the 2008 survey predicted that no sectors of the software industry would be invulnerable to disruption from Open Source.

In terms of the strategic influence open source has on their business, respondents see it as an engine for innovation, with 90% reporting they rely on open source for improved efficiency, innovation and interoperability. The most compelling reasons cited in the survey for use of open source included flexibility and freedom from vendor lock-in; competitive features and technical capabilities; ability to customize; and overall quality.

The 2016 results also show that the rapid adoption of open source has outpaced the implementation of effective open source management and security practices.  Nearly half of respondents report they have no formal processes to track their open source, and half reporting that no one has responsibility for identifying known vulnerabilities and tracking remediation.

Key 2016 Insights:

  1. Open Source Is The Modern Architecture. Open Source is the foundation now for nearly all applications, operating systems, cloud computing, databases, big data and more.  Open Source development has gone from the exception to the rule.   In the area of technologies, tools and processes, continuous integration, deployment, OS has made huge contributions and revamped how software is delivered.
  2. Source IS the Engine of Innovation.  Open Source is driving business because it facilitates faster, more agile development.   This translates into quicker builds, accelerate time to market and vastly superior interoperability.  It also supports every developer’s right to have an idea and build it in a in a way that was free from the restrictions of the traditional software industry.
  3. There is a new generation of companies and business models emerging. Respondents report that in the next two or three years, the business models that will generate the most revenue for open source vendors are SaaS (46%); Custom Development (42%) and Services/Support (41%).   Relative to previous years, we are not as dependent on SaaS and services/support.
  4. Challenges remain: Open Source security and management practices have not kept pace with rapid adoption. In the wake of high profile breaches, there is likely to be more emphasis on security.
  5. Participation and contribution will secure the future of open source.   Investing in the open source community spurs innovation, delivers exponential value and most of all, it’s fun.   It continues to grow as a key hiring and retention tool in IT shops of enterprises, governments, and startups alike.

Survey Participation & Demographics:

The 2016 Future of Open Source Survey drew a record 1,313 respondents from over 64 countries.  78% of the respondents were technical, a shift from early years which skewed toward executives and legal professionals.   The survey has grown three-fold since 2010.  
There were a record number of 52 collaborators involved from industry leading organizations with 27 participating at the Platinum level.   Among the collaborators were all the North Bridge Open Source portfolio companies including: Acquia, Coolan, Confer, Couchbase, Ravel Law, Rift-io, and WP Engine.  

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