Asay: Gartner off on Open Source Predictions

Lora Bentley

In today's post at The Open Road, blogger Matt Asay takes Gartner to task for "underhyping" open source. Specifically, he takes issue with the research firm's predictions in its "Hype Cycle for Open Source Software 2007" report that "we're years away from enterprise adoption of the following open-source software categories: content management (5-10 years); enterprise service bus (5-10 years); J2EE application servers (2-5 years); and IP telephony (2-5 years)."


We're not years away in any of those categories, he says, unless by "mainstream enterprise adoption" Gartner means that everyone is already using open source. He suggests "a wide cross-section of the market" is already on board in those categories -- that the market has progressed from "early adopters" to its "early majority" growth phase.


As examples, he points to his own company, enterprise content management provider Alfresco; to open source ESB provider MuleSource; and to Red Hat's JBoss division.


Gartner concedes it's unrealistic for software companies to ignore open source, but that fact is not accurately reflected in the report. As Asay concludes:

Gartner understands this, but seems to leave it out of its Hype Cycle calculation. Gartner writes:


Today, it has become impractical for mainstream IT organizations to avoid or ignore the influence of open source across a wide variety of industry market segments. Doing so will put organizations at a serious disadvantage against competitors who are leveraging mature, stable and well-supported open-source technologies for significant return on investment and total cost of ownership (TCO) opportunities. Moreover, open source is entering IT organizations embedded within market-leading products (themselves not open source) from a wide range of vendors, including IBM, Oracle, BEA Systems, SAP and many others.

Amen. Now we just need to see that reality reflected in the Hype Cycle schematic.

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