In the past several years, open source has gone mainstream. A new survey by OpenLogic shows that virtually every enterprise is using open source software. More importantly, open source code is no longer just coming in the “back door” through unsanctioned downloads by enterprises developers. Instead, open source software is being welcomed in through the front door of the enterprise as an equal or preferred alternative to proprietary, closed source software. These new survey results confirm what many in the open source community have already observed: enterprises have clearly transitioned to a new stage in open source adoption.
As open source usage has become more prevalent in the enterprise, organizations increasingly prefer open source software. 50% of respondents report that their companies prefer open source or always use open source. Another 23% of companies evaluate open source on equal footing with proprietary software solutions. Nearly 75% of companies now place open source equal to or ahead of proprietary software.
Even as enterprises accelerate adoption of open source software, they need help to smooth the way. The community-driven nature of open source software can be challenging for enterprises that are accustomed to procuring software from a vendor. Without a vendor driving product development, sales, and marketing, awareness of open source projects can lag behind proprietary solutions, and enterprise users may be unclear about where to turn for support.
Respondents indicated their number one challenge in using open source software is concern about depending on software that does not have a vendor behind it (44%). This was closely followed by challenges in finding technical support (41%).
Accustomed to commercial support offerings, enterprises often look for comparable levels of assistance with open source software. Survey respondents reported a wide range of types of support issues that arise during development or production. Almost half of respondents – 49% – indicated that learning to work with an open source package is a problem, and 46% indicated that troubleshooting development issues is a problem. Configuration issues (44%), package selection (44%), and fixing bugs (38%) are also prevalent problems.
Some open source packages are backed by vendors that offer paid support, but support options for most packages are often not as obvious to enterprise users. Additionally, since open source is commonly brought into the organization by developers, enterprises have often been forced to rely on internal expertise for support, at least during the early adoption phase.
Survey respondents reflected this diverse support landscape by reporting that they rely on a range of resources for getting support on the open source they use. 65% indicated that they use on online research and community forums for support, and 60% rely on internal expertise. However, commercial support contracts for open source are also significant in the enterprise, with 34% of respondents indicating that they buy support for individual packages, and 11% indicating that they buy aggregated support contracts for multiple packages. Only 15% of respondents indicated that they have no support coverage.
Since most enterprises today are using at least some open source, it’s no surprise that open source expertise has increased in recent years. 27% of survey respondents indicated deep expertise on many open source projects within their organizations, while 61% indicated some expertise on open source. Only 6% of respondents indicated almost no expertise.
As open source expertise has risen, so too has developer participation in open source projects. 48% of survey respondents indicated that developers in their organizations are allowed to contribute code to open source projects. 26% indicated that their organizations’ developers are allowed to contribute code, but only on their own time. Only 12% said that developers are not allowed to contribute code.
According to survey respondents, Linux (68%) is the most popular open source package in the enterprise. More than half of respondents reported use of the Apache Web Server (58%) and MySQL (53%), while PHP (42%), JDK (41%), Tomcat (40%), and Eclipse (39%) are also widely used. Other popular packages in the enterprise include JBoss (24%), Python (22%), Spring (22%), Subversion (22%), and Hibernate (21%).
Enterprise adoption of open source is now a mainstream strategy. The majority of companies are looking at open source software on a preferred or equal footing to traditional proprietary software. Companies are growing internal expertise with open source while also leveraging commercial support contracts and community resources. Almost half of companies allow developers to contribute to open source projects. Bottom line: open source is now a standard practice and a significant player in the enterprise IT portfolio.
There were 556 respondents to the survey conducted by OpenLogic. The majority of survey respondents work for medium or large enterprises. 44% of respondents indicated that they work for medium-sized (50-1000 employees) organizations, and 33% work for large (more than 1000 employees) organizations. 21% of respondents work for small (fewer than 50 employees) organizations.In addition, the majority of survey respondents have technical roles within their organizations. 64% of respondents indicated that they have a role in the development, architecture, or operations areas or their organizations, and 11% of respondents have a business-related role. 8% indicated that they have a role in procurement, and another 8% indicated a legal or compliance role.
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