The last ten years speculations about however this is the year for Linux or not has been literally attacking us when surfing the net. This year these speculation has been hard to find despite the fact that the number of people speaking for open source has been growing strong last year thanks to Ubuntu and others. The only one I can remember to speculate about if this is THE year is IBM who said that they never said it before, but 2008 is the year Linux take over our desktops.
Instead all the discussions are about that Lenovo released two of their laptop models from the IBM ThinkPad-series with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop pre-installed on the Swedish market and that HP and other computer manufactures are planning on releasing some of their models with Linux pre-installed. Two months into 2008 two huge companies bought three important and significant open source projects. Of course am I thinking about that Sun bought MySQL and VirtualBox, and that Nokia bought Trolltech including the copyright for QT.
The fact that huge companies has begun to buy open source projects is absolutely positive in my point of view and I’m not worried that these projects will be closed source or difficult to access in other ways like many others do. The companies are not going to close the source of further releases since the open source community is the worlds greatest test department free of charges. To release a product as open source for people and small businesses to download and use free of charge results in that they report bugs and literally test your product for you. When this product is considered stable the manufacturer package the product together with administration tools, security updates and patches, documentation and support to an enterprise product for companies that need these kinds of guarantees.
The benefits of big IT companies buying and developing open source software is that the development becomes more stable and organized since a company has to deliver a product to survive. These big IT companies also guarantees that the product is working together with different hardware and software that a non-profit open source project got a hard time to provide to the customer. The fact that big IT companies is buying open source projects makes them competitive on the market for software which will contribute to more companies taking the step to open source solutions.
Open source is also a great marketing strategy, to give your customer access to the product before it’s all done gives the customers the possibility to have all the internal testing done when the finished enterprise version of the product hits the market and the implementation can be done instantly. For all technicians that work with these products open source gives them the opportunity to run exactly the same software at home without expensive licensing models and the fact that they’re able to influence the development of the product they use.
The companies has finally accepted the challenge of open source! 2008 will certainly be an interesting year in open source history.