Often over these last few years I have been getting into a consistent conversation with friends within the Free/Open Source movement regarding its trajectory. What does the future hold for FOSS (Free and Open Source Software)? Will become the dominant model for the software industry or languish?
Personally I think FOSS is a superior development model that consistently yields high quality software. Nearly every day we hears news about once closed companies/technologies moving more toward this successful open model. Even one of the once largest detractors, Microsoft – is an Open Source company now. =P Existing FOSS companies and communities have always understood their own world but not always been the best at bringing others on board. Even with all successes of FOSS has many issues to overcome such as building a sustainable business model, IP (Intellectual Property) issues, confronting overblown FUD, successful marketing, etc. Those same problems sometimes apply to many community driven projects. Its my personal hope as an IT Consultant/User/Advocate/Entrepreneur to see FOSS grow but I don’t think it will ever be the only option. It will exist along side many shades of open and closed. Is it not true that the competition will create innovation? Arguably there would be no Internet without FOSS. It has been critical to the evolution of so much of what we take for granted in todays Internet world. The future will bring much more amazing innovation from the tremendous power of this well source that is FOSS.