Thursday, November 04, 2004


NewsForge | IT analysts' influence on open source adoption: "Open source is now mainstream in analyst-land

Forrester, IDC, Gartner, and most other major analyst firms all now treat Linux and other popular open source offerings as a 'Where and when to adopt it' topic rather than as a 'Should you use it?' controversy. Even META Group, which has a reputation in open source circles as being pro-Microsoft, often turns out studies that talk about Linux in 'How to' rather than 'Should you?' terms.

In marketingspeak, we might put it this way: 'The concept of cooperative software development under licenses that allow redistribution and modification has gained enough traction that this meme is now part of the enterprise IT landscape.'

This means job opportunities for Linux-aware sysadmins and other IT personnel are likely to increase, which is good. It also means that more developers will be working with more open source projects, which is likely to accelerate the rate of open source adoption even more.

And as a free side effect, there will probably be an expanding market for analysts familiar with Linux, too. Rob Reilly pointed out, over and over, that he and I often do exactly the same kind of research as the analysts, and that by packaging our work the way they package theirs instead of running it as articles on ad-supported Web sites, we could compete with them directly.

It's a seductive thought. But is the IT world ready for an analyst firm that specializes in open and free software research? Is there enough of a (paying) market for information about free and open source software to make this a viable business idea?

Perhaps. And if someone decides to try it, I hope they invite me to their first conference. I think I'd enjoy being there."

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