We hear all the time how companies are saving truckloads of money by using open source technology. Another thing we hear about are companies such as LucidWorks, IKANOW, Accenture, and Joyent that have built a company solely on open source platforms. The question to be asked, however, how much open source worth?. CMS Wire tried to found an answer in their recent article, “Open Source Value and CMS Ecosystem.” Black Duck Software investigated the question and after careful research discovered that in the manner of manpower and development costs, open source code is worth a total of $387 million. Even with that estimated value, no one is quite sure what that means in relation to all the aspects of open source. There is value, but how do you get to it? Also once you assign something a dollar value what are the implications? CMS Wire interviewed Peter Vescuso of Black Duck Software to ask his opinion on the how content management systems will be affected.
One way is that through open source technology, companies will be able to save money and invest the savings in innovation:
Innovation comes indirectly from using open source. Just to be clear about this line of thought, if a development organization’s budget is $4 million for 2009, and they can find a way to use open source to offset 25% of it, they now have $1 million they could put in their pockets/save (not likely as their 2009 budget is likely lower than it was in 2008) or they can put it towards the list of innovative features and differentiation they’ve been hoping to get to.
New ideas can be explored to their fullest if there is capital to fund them. We have heard many stories about people’s great idea for technology, but they lack the proper investments. The money saved by open source will put that money into the hands of creators.
Open source software and the rise of collaborative development is a fundamental and major innovation in how software will be developed. It has changed the world forever and we think for the better. In terms of innovation from a development group’s perspective, open source is not the source of their innovation. Rather it provides the common piece-parts every application or service may need, and since it’s available to any development group, it is not a source of innovation but a platform for innovation.
Vescuso predicts that the money saved by cost-effective open source solutions will be invested in mobile space. Mobile space is a developing market and companies are still exploring how to bring enterprise, Cloud, Big Data, and other applications to a convenient handheld device.
Mobile device manufacturers watch every penny of cost that goes into their devices. Using a free Linux-based operating platform, an open source browser (e.g., Safari), etc. reduces costs and frees their own development budgets for value-added features. The Apple iPhone is not considered an open device, yet it is chock full of open source, with the Safari browser being a highly visible example. Google created the Android mobile platform using Linux and an open source model.
The conclusion we can come to is that open source means free technology, which leads to saved money, which is then invested in new ideas. There is an old saying that goes, “there are no new ideas, simply new takes on them.” There is truth in the old adage, but the Internet is not based on a previous idea. It was created from scratch and then expanded upon. It is rekindling technology creativity. We cannot wait to see what will come next. LucidWorks believes in the idea of originality, which is why it strives to create innovative search applications with Apache Lucene.
Whitney Grace, September 10, 2012