Saugatuck Study: Open Source Changes Software, While Software Changes Open Source

Share Article

Research and analysis indicate that software prevalence has changed the nature of "open source"

While open source software is omnipresent, and its presence is growing more rapidly than previously estimated, the basic nature of open source software is changing from project-based, developer-driven community initiatives to vendor-driven, and vendor-owned, software. One result of this is to make traditional methods of measuring open source's presence and roles within user enterprises impractical.

These are among the key conclusions from Saugatuck's latest open source research study. Entitled "Power, Speed and Assimilation: Open Source Changes the Industry, and the Industry Changes Open Source," the 15-page research report is available today for purchase and download from Saugatuck's website at

Highlights from the study include the following:

  • The same factors that attract users to open source - lower costs and reduced times of development, and reduced dependency on vendor-specific technologies - have attracted commercial software vendors to use and incorporate open source into their offerings and portfolios.
  • The involvement of commercial software vendors, including such traditional IT Master Brands as IBM and Microsoft, is a key factor in the rapid acceleration of open source adoption and use throughout world markets.
  • Open source software is seen as delivering significant business value to user firms, and is considered viable and valuable in all aspects of user enterprise software and systems.
  • The breadth and depth of open source presence within user firms is becoming impractical to measure, and less of a useful metric for open source evolution and influence in markets. Commercial vendor development, release, adoption and use of open source software are a more accurate measure of open source's market presence and influence.

"It's safe to say that open source software is not what anyone thought it was, or would be," stated Saugatuck Managing Director Bruce Guptill, the study's lead author. "Open source's rampant commercialization has accelerated its adoption and change well beyond what most IT executives and software industry executive ever perceived or predicted."

This is the second major open source adoption and evolution research study to be released by Saugatuck in 15 months. Saugatuck's October 2007 study, "Open Source Software: The Next Disruptive IT Influence," (SSR-397, published 22 Oct. 2007) examined open source's potential for software industry disruption and provided a scenario for open source adoption and change over time.

The core research for this report was developed from Saugatuck's 2008 open source research program, conducted from June through October 2008. The program included interviews and briefings with more than 50 vendors of open source software, dozens of user IT executives, and leading open source vendor and development community organizations. We also incorporated data and analysis from associated Saugatuck research program, including our SaaS and cloud computing research.

About Saugatuck Technology Inc.
Saugatuck Technology Inc. provides market strategy consulting and subscription research services to senior executives, information technology vendors, and investors, combining strategy development, business planning, and market intelligence with first-hand research of executive technology buyer trends.

Founded in 1999, Saugatuck is headquartered in Westport, Connecticut (USA), with offices in Silicon Valley and in Germany. For more information, go to, or call +1.203.454.3900 in the US, or +49.6123.630285 in Germany. To request a briefing with our analysts, contact Chris MacGregor at


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website