"Freedom to leave" is in my view one of the key dynamics of the meshed society that results from the Internet age. Purchasers of proprietary solutions are highly likely to limit their future choice of supplier through the act of an earlier purchase. But when software specifiers use open source software for enterprise deployments, they retain a choice of which suppliers will be able deliver service next time round the procurement loop. Having a choice of supplier means they can play hardball in negotiations over price and features. Paradoxically, when a supplier tries to lock in its customers, they will try to leave; give them the freedom to do so, and they will most likely stay (all other things being equal).
As the open source market matures further, I believe we'll see greater and greater value placed on the tools it delivers to enterprise IT deployers to control their own destiny. It's not saving money that matters so much as being able to create the greatest value with your available budget. That ability flows from the freedom to use open source software any way you wish, with no lock-in, and to hire experts who've been able to study the software freely. It's delivered by the the existence and success of suppliers who have built clever and effective add-ons and extensions because they were free to modify the code. It's enhanced when any part of your business can deploy the software without concerns about licensing, even suppliers or customers.
OSBC has long been a hold-out of "open core" and "dual license" business models and the VCs who encourage them. I believe that the annual OSBC survey is discovering that the future of open source involves a return to its true values instead.
This article, "Open source celebrates the freedom to leave," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of the Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.