Course:ETEC522/2010ST1/OpenSourceTechnologies/Future potential of Open Source Software

From UBC Wiki

Future potential of OSS

This vector was created by David Evans.

add teamwork pic add questions

The Future: Why is open source Important?

'“The Web owes its existence to open source”' Penenberg (2005)

Behind the scenes of our networked computers, the majority of our web servers run Apache, an open source project (Netcraft, 2010). The name Apache holds information on the development process of an open source project. With so many developers working on the project in a kind of loose collection, their submissions were numerous a slightly chaotic. When the submission were put together to form an improved version of the program, the group “called it a patchy Web server” (Babcock, 2007).

The video below is a testament to the potential power of open source. Linux, an open source operating system has a dedicated following of users who prefer the freedom of the software over proprietary Microsoft or Apple operating systems. With only 1-2% of personal computers running Linux however, it has an uphill battle in becoming a mainstream player in the market. The mobile smartphone market is a different story with Linux distributions being used by Motorola, Nokia, and Google's Android phones.


Where is Open Source going?

The open source community is growing and becoming stronger daily. Not only do individuals from around the world help to maintain and share their innovations and developments, mainstream commercial companies such as IBM and Google have become major supporters of the open source movement.

Who are these people who freely share their work with the world for free? It may be surprising. You are also a contributing part of the open source community when you post your content to the internet for others to use, share and learn from. Open source software (OSS) contributors require a fairly specialized skill set, computer programming, and so the development community is slightly more exclusive. The OSS community requires more than just programmers; illustrators, graphic designers, document writers are just some of the tasks that could be done by non-programmers which would contribute to the open source community.

Study:2009 North Bridge Venture Partner's Presentation on the Future of Open Source

The NBVP (North Bridge Venture Partner, 2009) organization conducted a fairly comprehensive study on the future of open source. They drew from 435 participants to attempt to gain some insight into how the open source movements were received in the real world. Their findings paint a bright portrait for the future of open source developments.

Highlights from their presentation:

Impacts2.png FutureOSSpurchases.png Barriers.png

See the Complete Slideshow: <flashow></flashow>

Why Open Source is likely to succeed?


Open source is likely to succeed because it’s based on core central values of sharing and teamwork. These are values that most of society holds true, we teach them to our children and can see the benefits to groups when they work together to accomplish a common goal.

'"It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit."'

Robert Yates

The open source community does exactly this with their efforts. They are a group of individuals with the strengths, talents and resources, collaborating together without being overly concerned with who will get the credit. They seem to work for the love of their process, the challenge of the task and the joy of contributing to something greater than they could create individually.

Report Card


Report Card for the Open Source Concept:

Production of Powerful Applications: A+

Simplicity of Use: B

Ability to inspire and share with others: A+

Future Prospects: A+

Vector 5 Questions

1. It can seem like Open Source is a new concept that was created with the internet. Where else have the values of Open Source been seen in the past?

2. Martin Dougiamas, the creator of Moodle, could be described as a philanthropist for his work. Does contributing to Open Source Software require one to be altruistic?


Babcock, Charles (2007-01-13). "High Five: Meet Brian Behlendorf, CTO of CollabNet". InformationWeek (CMP Media).

House, B. (2009). 2009 NBVP Future of Open Source results. Upload & Share PowerPoint presentations and documents. Retrieved June 19, 2010, from

Netcraft | February 2010 Web Server Survey (2010). Internet Research, Anti-Phishing and PCI Security Services | Netcraft. Retrieved June 19, 2010, from

Penenberg, A. L. (2005, November 22). The open-source movement isn't communism. - By Adam L. Penenberg - Slate Magazine . Slate Magazine. Retrieved June 19, 2010, from


Discussion questions

Return to the Main Open Source Course page.