Saturday, January 6, 2007

Top events and trends in open source for 2006

I have been meaning to blog about Dave Gynn's webinar reviewing events that shaped open source in 2006. Seeing Dave's post on his blog gave me the nudge I needed. There are a couple of content management points that Dave makes in this presentation. Here they are (with my commentary):

  • Mergers and acquisition in the commercial CMS software industry may spill into the open source market segment. There are a number of very innovative open source content management software companies whose development trajectory and features may be attractive to commercial software companies which tend to move at a slower pace. This is especially significant in the context of Web 2.0 trends such as a faster development cycle and collaboration. A similar strategy is for commercial software companies to apply open source community practices to their customer bases. Good examples include Microsoft's creation of a developer community around its SharePoint product and Ektron's Developer Community.
  • The OpenDocument Format became an ISO standard and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts drove efforts to make migration easier. As Stephen Walli likes to say, there are de facto standards and de jure standards. Microsoft Office is certainly the de facto standard and that might be more important. Still, it is interesting to see what happens with Open Office because Microsoft may not want to help competitors of its content management products create seamless desktop integration. For example, eZ publish allows you to download any structured content type into OO Writer, edit it off line, then upload it back in with the structured preserved.

Dave also makes some good general FOSS observations such as the fact that there was no significant legal activity in 2006. It seems like legal fears are dying down. My clients seldom mention legal liability. Also, Java is now open source. I still don't really know what this will mean for the language. Dave thinks this will spur innovation. I guess that would depend on how well Sun builds and leverages a community. If they don't, open source alternatives to Sun's components may gain an edge.  Or developers will continue to increase their interest in Ruby, PHP, and Python.

Dave, it is good to see you back in the blogosphere. I was wondering what you were doing with all your spare time ;).