I have been paying more attention to open source last time. What I wanted to analyze is how Open Source will influence future enterprise software landscape and what does it means for Product Lifecycle Management software. Open Source never been on the simple track in the enterprise organization. So, I’d like to put some of my analyzes towards trying to understand if future of PLM can gain some competitive analyzes from Open Source projects.
Big Player and Changes
The original open source invention contradicted lots of established rules in the enterprise software, mixed usage of FOSS software and components faced significant legal challenges. In addition, the valuation and other business characteristics of open source companies challenged lots of analysts and raised many discussions. However, I can see some significant changes for the last couple of years. Growth as community based development, FOOS started to leverage alternative sources of revenues. You can take a look on the following article by CNET from the last year, Open-source M&A: The scorecard to date” mentioned some interesting numbers related to OSS dividends.
Another article: How many billions is open-source software worth? by Computerworld also last year estimations and some estimation numbers about OSS industry worth. What is about $387B? Sounds big? This is the number BlackDuck Software, Boston based firm came up. The following part is especially interesting:
That’s the number that Black Duck Software came up with. Black Duck isn’t an open-source ISV (independent software vendor). The Boston area company started as an IP (intellectual property) risk management and mitigation company, but has since grown into an open-source legal management firm. Since Black Duck was founded in 2002, the company has been tracking all known open source on the Internet According to their research, there are over 200,000 open-source projects representing over 4.9 billion lines of code. To create that code from scratch, Black Duck estimates that “reproducing this OSS would cost $387 billion and would take 2.1 million people-years of development.”
Open Monetizing Source Trajectories
Another interesting article with a catch’y name: “Has Oracle Been a Disaster for Sun’s Open Source?” Worth read. I recommend you to have a look. Oracle becomes a provide of Open Source Software. However, the Open Source trajectories inside of Oracle are not very happy. It is still not clear how OSS software will be integrated, developed and promoted by such a business community as Oracle.
The problem is that Oracle is naturally trying to optimize its acquisition of Sun for its own shareholders, but seems to have forgotten that there are other stakeholders too: the larger open source communities that have formed around the code. That may make sense in the short term, but is undoubtedly fatal in the long term: free software cannot continue to grow and thrive without an engaged community.
In addition, I can see additional trials to monetize existing open source projects. I got an invitation to the conference “Lucene Revolution” by company name Lucid Imagination that will happen in Boston in October this year. Lucene is a well known Open Source search platform. Lucid is trying to play a “Red Hat” search game, which can be an interesting monetizing strategy for established OSS brands.
PLM and Open Source
If we’ll take a look on PLM Open Source land, we can see Aras is pushing OSS trends forward. I think, it is getting more traction and interests. However, I see Aras’ activity as somewhat not balanced in the following two areas: 1/ development of the communities; 2/ leveraging existing OSS software stack. Probably, Aras’ roots and relationships with Microsoft put some restriction on their OSS-related positioning. Despite these two concerns, I can see a significant interest from customer side to what Aras is doing in Open Source PLM.
What is my conclusion? Customers in engineering and manufacturing organizations are looking for changes in enterprise software. FOSS is one of the potential directions to make it happen. Usage of OSS can save cost and therefore, provide benefits to end users. With lower cost base, enterprise vendors can be innovative in the development of new business models which, in the end, also benefit end users. As I had chance to mention before, community development, cross-usage of existing OSS platforms and tools can be very interesting.