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2007 Forecast: Open Source

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OSS

If I read the runes correctly, the hopes of many of the committed followers and proponents of Open Source have been disappointed by its progress in recent times. Admittedly, the attempt by SCO to stop Linux in its tracks (or get a royalty from its use) looks to have failed and last year saw Microsoft almost accommodating Open Source in a deal with Novell (but not without spreading a little FUD).

However, it also saw Oracle train its big guns on Red Hat, threatening to spoil its whole business model simply by competing directly—and this was not long after Oracle had embarrassed MySQL by buying up the Open Source providers of two of the database's key complementary components. On the desktop and laptop it is not Linux but Apple that is providing genuine competition for Microsoft and in other areas, such a mobile devices, it looks like Linux is not really a significant player.

What I think is happening is neither the defeat of Open Source, nor its saturation. I think we have become too accustomed to treating Open Source products as if they were commercial products and thus trying to judge their progress in terms of growth and market share. I don't think you can look at it like that.

A good deal of Open Source adoption doesn't occur in the same way as the purchase of commercial product. I was at an IT site recently that suddenly decided to use Hibernate. Why?

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today's howtos

Chew on this: Ubuntu Core Linux comes to the uCRobotics Bubblegum-96 board

Linux and other open source software have been in the news quite a bit lately. As more and more people are seeing, closed source is not the only way to make money. A company like Red Hat, for instance, is able to be profitable while focusing its business on open source. Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems, and it is not hard to see why. Not only is it easy to use and adaptable to much hardware (such as SoC boards), but there is a ton of free support online from the Ubuntu user community too. Today, Canonical announces a special Ubuntu Core image for the uCRobotics Bubblegum-96 board. Read more