Re: one projection about the open source market

From: Eirikur Hallgrimsson (
Date: Sat Feb 24 2001 - 18:44:05 PST

Strata quotes:
> "Deutsche Banc Alex Brown expects corporate IT departments to spend
> $75 Billion dollars by 2004 on Open Source."

That's interesting. I'd love to see the reasoning behind it. I don't think
we know what business models will be powering the Open Source companies that
they think are going to take in that revenue and deliver products that are
usable to IT departments (where usable includes liability, scalability, etc).

Maybe this is supposed to represent unit sales of servers with bundled open
source Unices of one kind or another, and service contract revenue to Red
Hat, LinuxCare, etc. It's a big number, though. Somehow we have to get to a
world where J.Random IT manager can comfortably specify Apache or MySQL on
FreeBSD or Linux. Will people like that want to pay for guaranteed support
response times? It's hard to believe that that would be worth it with the
incredible near-instant support that popular source-available packages have.

It seems that the open source software companies are stuck trying to get
people to pay for what they can get for free. Individuals are willing to
pay for convenience (shrink-wrapped software kits), but I really wonder how
that translates into IT spending. I think there's a big difference.

I hate to be pessimistic about this stuff, because I feel very strongly about
the lack of (present and future) utility of proprietary binary software. I
just can't commit effort to trying to learn to use it, or commit funds to
paying for it.

If I admit that I don't have the vaguest idea of what business models will be
like, I have to admit that maybe there won't be any.... Maybe it is all
going to be support and customization. A big service economy and essentially
no 'unit sales.' What this really suggests to me is that "open source"
doesn't really fit into the world the way it is organized now--the world in
which it flourishes will have to be different in other ways that aren't
visible yet. Maybe it would be a world with no product-oriented software

>From the trenches: I'm working on Compaq's Tru64 Unix at the moment.
That's where they are putting the software work for the supercluster
supercomputer. It's an interesting experience for me whenever I have to use
one of the proprietary Unices. It's like coming home to find that all my
furniture and even the carpet has been stolen. The GNU utilities are so
transcendently far beyond the old proprietary versions that just typing
simple commands is an exercise in frustration for me.


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