The open source movement has changed the course of modern software
development. Certainly, Linux has been the most prominent example so far, but
there is far more to come. Open source continues to infiltrate mainstream
development at an ever faster pace. As that happens, the rules change too.
Open source Eclipse tools overturned the IDE business. Open source frameworks
helped drive Ajax. Open source unit testers are now par for the course. In the
form of Hibernate and Spring, open source has challenged the conventional
application server stack. Open source has penetrated the mysterious world of BPM
in the form of BPEL and various rules engines. Open source software is on the
evaluation list for more and more messaging and enterprise service bus projects.
But open source in these enterprise instances continues to take on something
of the tenor of established commercial software. That is not simply because such
key software as Eclipse, JBoss, Spring and Hibernate are backed by large and
established software companies. It is also because enterprise software is real
work, and some commercial reward seems needed if any software is going to
continually be shepherded forward.
The Apache Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation have set the tone;
enterprise open source today is very much a mix of independent developers and
commercial developers (often doing the work on their employer's dime). A lot of
the same familiar risks apply. Picking the wrong software can leave you out on
What is the future of open source software? We can anticipate a swing from
large, commercially influenced projects back to smaller grass roots projects.
When these grass roots projects have mass market potential, we will probably see
a bit of a swing back to the larger scale, commercially friendly end of the
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Open source video