Finally, the word “open source” has become used to describe development models, licensing models, community models, distribution models, sales and marketing models, philosophical and ethical models, and is now being applied to politics. Clearly there are powerful core concepts of transparency and sharing at the heart of this. It’s starting to blur the original ideas articulated by Eric Raymond, Danese Cooper, et al, which are about the source code itself and the developers who share it. The risk is that the term itself loses meaning over time, which is unfortunate as it’s a powerful idea.
Astor: The chief challenge open source faces is the need to tease apart the development and community model from the distribution and business model. Open source is used as a label for two very different things. First, as a way to develop software, and second, as a way to distribute and make money on software. Because the label is used interchangeably, the two get confused fairly often. As open source development and open source capitalists, like me, become more prevalent, the great challenge will be to recognize that there are two very different currents in the open source movement, each with its own particular requirements to succeed.
Vice president of products
Urlocker: As with most systems software, it needs to continue to get easier to use. MySQL, Apache, PHP, Linux, JBoss, etc., are popular because they are powerful and easy to use. They are far less complex than some of the old proprietary software that was developed in the 1990s. But there's still a ways to go to ensure that all the software works well together with a single, simplified installation.
Open source has made the transition into IT and is being used for very complex systems development. But I think the infrastructure software is still more popular than open source applications. Still, we're seeing the start of that with companies like SugarCRM, JasperSoft, Pentaho, and others.
As we head into a recession with more IT budget crunch, I think we'll see the next wave of open source adoption. If it's good enough for telcos, banks, and the largest Web sites, maybe it's good enough for broader adoption.
Vice president of open source and standards