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Drupal Helps Make Open Source Software the Rule, Not the Exception

2016 Open Source Survey

More than 3,000 people are in New Orleans for North America’s 2016 DrupalCon, an energetic hub of education, knowledge-sharing and business focused on open source Drupal software.

DrupalCon isn’t just an homage to Drupal; it’s proof of the massive success and continued acceleration of the once-radical idea that many hands can contribute to software that anyone can freely use, modify, and build upon.

In Drupal’s case, hundreds of thousands of organizations worldwide like GE, Pfizer and Cisco, leverage Drupal to innovate, to build great digital experiences, and to drive competitive differentiation. Drupal is supported by a robust global community who devote time, effort and brainpower to constantly make Drupal better. Fifteen years into its existence, both Drupal and its community keep moving forward.

Drupal is just one bellwether that points to massive, expanding momentum in open source software - the reality of which is called out in the fresh results of the 2016 Future of Open Source survey sponsored by Northbridge Partners and Black Duck Software (Acquia is a collaborator on the annual survey).

The survey data supports the idea that open source software is thriving. You might say open source is eating the world.

The business impact of open source software (OSS) is clear and compelling. So too are the reasons that spur open source software adoption; the top four cited by the survey results include:

  • Competitive features
  • Freedom from vendor lock-in
  • Quality of solutions
  • Ability to customize and fix

According to the survey data, 90% of respondents say open source improves efficiency, interoperability, and innovation in their organizations. Additional data supports the reality that not only are more companies using open source software, they are raising their participation to help drive open source success for themselves and everyone using OSS.

  • 65% of companies in the survey are contributing to open source projects, up from 63% a year ago.
  • 67% of companies encourage their developers to engage in open source projects, a compelling factor in developer retention and satisfaction.

Details about the 2016 survey results are available here.

This year’s responses that point to the dominant position of OSS in today’s technology landscape. Among the survey sponsors’ findings, paraphrased here:

Open Source Is The Modern Architecture. Open source is the foundation for nearly all applications, operating systems, cloud computing, databases, big data and more. Open Source development has gone from the exception to the rule.

Open Source is the Engine of Innovation. Open source is driving business because it facilitates faster, more agile development. This means quicker builds, accelerated time to market and superior interoperability. It also supports every developer’s right to have an idea and build it in a way free from the restrictions of the traditional (read: commercial) software industry.

A new generation of companies and business models is emerging. In the next two or three years, the business models that will generate the most revenue for open source vendors are SaaS (46%); Custom Development (42%) and Services/Support (41%). This is great news for enterprises that are beginning to dive into open source solutions and want help to succeed and optimize its benefits.

Additionally, the survey finds that participation and contribution to open source is growing, helping to secure its future. The open source flywheel is cranking; organizations’ investment in open source spurs innovation and delivers exponential value, and the virtuous cycle continues.

DrupalCon New Orleans (like other annual DrupalCons around the world) is a bold reflection of Drupal’s innovation and the value of open source web content management and digital experience software. Acquia, along with its channel partners, exists to help organizations succeed with Drupal. Because of this commitment, Acquia will be leading or participating in nearly two dozen presentations, workshops this week in New Orleans and is driving certification testing for developers for the newest release, Drupal 8.

When it comes to open source, pick your metaphor to characterize the community-centric nature of shared innovation and development: Many hands make light work. A rising tide lifts all boats. You get the idea. Far from a niche or fad, open source is as mainstream as traditional commercial technology has been for the last five decades.

All of this prompts some guidance for organizations to consider, regardless of where they are on their open source adoption journey, as they seek to shift resources, investment and mindshare into OSS.

  • We’re at a pivotal point in the digital economy and it’s time to realize even a minor commitment to open source. Involvement in a community supporting an open source project can enable an organization be more innovative, deliver more/better code faster, and create scalable applications to produce better business results.
  • Supporting developers who work in open source projects will provide your organization with many benefits including retaining and satisfying developers who want to learn and stretch their skills. If you are using these technologies, provide your developers with educational resources, financial support and allow them to collaborate on new ideas and contributions to the common good.
  • Find different ways for your organization to get involved in the open source community and support opportunities, events, conferences, and projects that are propelling our economy into the future. Small steps, like sponsoring code sprints, or hosting regional or national events, are just a few examples of investments that pay off for everyone.

Of course, there’s one key realization that every enterprise technology decision maker must weigh seriously: It’s not a question of whether you start to adopt open source technology, but when.

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