future of open source
January 13, 2020

The Future of Open Source Software Development

Open Source

Open source software is everywhere, and it's only expanding its reach. From desktops to mission-critical applications, open source underpins every area of our digital world. So what does the future of open source software look like, and will it maintain its prominence into the future?

In this blog, we discuss the future of open source software, including five predictions on how open source will intersect with emerging and expected trends in the technology space and beyond.

Is Open Source the Future?

Open source is the future. It's growing, as teams large and small embrace it. 

What's the Future of Open Source Software?

The future of open source software is incredibly bright. And it's only going to get brighter. Open source is on the rise. And teams everywhere are leveraging open source — from small businesses to massive enterprises. Keep reading for our top 5 predictions.

Get Insight Into How Open Source Is Being Used Today

In this commissioned study from Forrester Consulting, they provide the results of a survey of decision makers at North American enterprise companies on how they work with open source, and the ways they're succeeding in adopting open source software.

If you're on the fence about open source, or considering doubling down on your strategy, this study is a must-read.

Download the Study


5 Predictions For the Future of Open Source

Rod Cope, CTO of Perforce Software, recently gave his insight on the future of overall software development from now until 2025. Cope shared 5 predictions that lend interesting implications for open source software development. In this blog, we’ll uncover what a few of those predictions mean for the open source community.   

As Development Speed Increases, Open Source Increases

Cope believes that scale is taking on a new meaning. It is predicted two times as many people are going to get cellphones over the next 5 years and there will be devices we haven’t conceived of yet. This implies a massive amount of data. What does this mean for open source?

Open source will have to be the reactive means of development amid rapid development and data processing. The data overload predicament will further necessitate the need for quick access to open source packages.

Will Apps Be Recognizable as Apps? 

Cope says we’re already in an app-driven world and they just keep getting smarter. Apps will soon not look as apps do now on your phone. They will most likely be more human with rendered video, holograms, haptics, etc. that are still technically “apps”.

In the sheer speed of this app development, open source will be necessary so developers don’t have to start from scratch but instead can create faster. From a code perspective, it will require a lot of innovation for organizations to keep up. Open source will allow developers to have a springboard of created code to start from.

Open Source Leading the Quantum Charge

Cope, along with many experts, believe that quantum computing will only get more sophisticated. Where quantum compute software is concerned, open source is leading the pack. The Quantum Open Source Foundation already hosts dozens of community-driven projects. Why is OSS leading the pack? Scientists love open data and sharing new information. Python is one of the most popular languages and it is the most popular source for their computing. Innovators of quantum will more than likely stick to open source packages for their findings.

Software Becomes More Important Than Hardware

Cope predicts that hardware will now just be the vehicle to deliver new, innovative software. Open source software is surely going to be a catalyst to propel this prediction. AI and ML are becoming more and more accessible. Open source developers will have to able to utilize it increasingly in development.

The More Personal Tech Gets, The More We Need to Know

In Cope’s prediction, he notes that software will, “become less reactive and more predictive”. Technology is becoming more and more personalized and predictive. Within the next 5 years, we will see deeply personal tech. It will have to be open source for it to be trusted by the masses. We have to know the source code to know what it is doing, especially as technology becomes more interconnected with our lives.

The Future of Open Source Is Now

The future of open source is now. In the next 5 years, open source development will be driven by necessity. The industry trends Cope predicts doesn’t make an open source an option, it makes it the gospel. Corporations will need to utilize it to stay relevant. This puts OSS more front and center more now than ever.

Do we want one or two companies controlling all of this innovation? No way. Let’s keep the future open source. Keep innovating. Happy creating, OSS community!

See the Latest Trends in OSS

In our new quarterly Open Source Trend Report series, we do deep dives on the hottest trends in open source. For Q121, we looked at open source data and cloud technologies, as well as operating systems.

Download the Report

Additional Resources