More small businesses are adopting open source

A survey by MySQL indicates adoption of open source by small and medium-size European businesses is on the rise

Fast on the heels of Sun's release of an updated version of the MySQL Enterprise Monitor, MySQL has released the results of a survey of 637 small and medium-size businesses (less than 500 employees) in Europe documenting open source usage. While this is not as comprehensive as Alfresco's prior Open Source Barometer surveys, it still provides an interesting snapshot on usage patterns. (And maybe this will encourage Alfresco to revisit its survey.) A few interesting factoids:

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  • More than half (54 percent) of small businesses use open source software today. Usage varies form country to country; France wins the top spot with 72 percent usage, followed closely by Germany and Italy. Adoption of open source in the United Kingdom lags considerably at 34 percent.
  • Usage appears to be independent of company size. Adoption is occuring at all sizes of small companies, from the very small to the medium sized.
  • Small businesses are using open source for a greater percentage of mission-critical apps compared to larger companies, which are generally more risk averse. Surprisingly, the percentage of mission-critical open source usage is highest in Netherlands (71 percent), Germany (68 percent), and the United Kingdom (65 percent). Even though those countries are not the largest users of open source, they are using it for more critical applications.
  • Usage of open source is expected to continue to rise over the next two years.
  • Windows is the top OS used, though a number of SMBs are also using Linux.
  • Java is the top language used for database applications, followed by Visual Basic. PHP and JavaScript/AJAX are tied for third place.
  • For almost half of small businesses surveyed, the system administrator is also the DBA; fewer than 20 percent have a full-time DBA.
  • For half of small businesses, database selection is based on recommendation by a system integrator or consultant.

And while cost is seen as the No. 1 motivator driving open source adoption among small businesses, freedom of choice and ease of use rank higher in some countries (the United Kingdom, France, Germany). While this study came from Europe, it might be interesting to see how these results compare in the United States, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific region. The full results are available online at MySQL.

Disclosure: I work for Sun's MySQL division.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.