- The Modern State of Software Innovation: How Sun and Oracle Are Changing Their Open Source Diet
- Insights from SourceForge.net on the Proliferation of Open Source
- The United States of Innovation
- Speculations on the Future State of Innovation
Even companies that have come from proprietary software roots are turning to open source solutions to integrate into notoriously proprietary software, such as Oracle's Enterprise Linux. The companies that produce the proprietary software are beginning to integrate open source solutions into their product lines, which shows a general shift in how technology companies design and build software.
Traditionally, if open source software was run in-house at a company, there was a good chance that it didn't come with a commercial support contract, because the project was community supported. Typically an in-house IT staff managed the solution, but when something went wrong IT would consult the community for support.
Many companies are uncomfortable with such a model, so they choose a potentially poorer-quality product that offers a legally binding support contract that can be engaged if something goes wrong. One solution might not necessarily be better than the other, and the community support offered for an open source solution may in fact be more responsive than that of the commercial company. However, because purely open source solutions offer no service-level agreement, no company will need to make the decision to run open source software due to legal liabilities or simply out of fear of not being supported.
With many large software companies now involved with open source software—and not just consuming the code, but also contributing to these open source products—the shift in corporate software culture has a ripple effect. Academics and the open source community have always had a tendency to drive innovation, only to see their work be adopted by a company with the resources to turn it into a useable, marketable product.
Companies that normally institute only proprietary, closed-source software understand that their vendors are supporting open source products due to the benefits and cost savings associated with open source, and are beginning to shift their software development practices to welcome open solutions.