ORLANDO, Fla. -- If you're knee-deep in an IT infrastructure project, the following will come as no surprise: Open source is popular and it's gaining ground.
"It's simply growing up the stack," Mark Driver, an analyst with Gartner, said on Monday. Driver, speaking at Gartner's annual Symposium/ITExpo conference here, said one reason for the building popularity of open source is the growing adoption of open source code by proprietary, closed-source software makers like IBM and Sun.
"The brutal reality is that more and more software from (proprietary vendors) will have open source in it," he said.
A growing number of software makers see open source support as a key part of their competitive strategies, Driver said. "Why do you think that IBM likes Linux? Do you think they looked at Linux three or four years ago and said this is superior to AIX, an operating system they spent billions to develop? I think not. They like it because it is bad for Windows and Solaris."
Open source products continue to pose a challenge to server software from proprietary vendors. Gartner predicts that by 2008, open source software will directly compete with closed source products in all infrastructure software markets.
Open source is "moving from an under-the-radar technology, to IT organizations having a formal policy," Driver said. "If you are a software vendor you have to have an open source strategy. You have no choice."
Driver said even greater adoption is likely being held back by a number of commonly held myths related to open source. "The myth is that open source is only used by hackers and technology elites. It is inappropriate for mainstream IT. That's just not true," Driver said.