2007 was such a massive year for open source that I've had to divide it up into two posts. 2006 was relatively easy to encapsulate in one post. Not so 2007. Enterprise adoption of open source was in full bloom. The analysts were all over open source in 2007. And then there was Microsoft....
I covered January through June in my last post. This one covers July through December. It's surprising just how much happened this past year:
- Open-source investments were up 33% over Q2 2006. Interestingly, open-source startup opportunities branched out beyond CRM, ERP, and other mainstream enterprise software to things like advertising, telephony, and other disparate things.
- Windows development declined by 12% while developers targeting the Linux platform(s) was up 34.8%. Microsoft is hardly going away anytime soon, but third-party developers...maybe so. Of course, later numbers showed Linux server growth slowing compared to Windows, while both grow their data center market shares. Lies, damned lies, and statistics...but whose?
- Microsoft made an attempt to place itself above the open-source fray by declaiming against its need to abide by the GPLv3 license. Needless to say, Microsoft got roasted. Against this backdrop, GPLv3 adoption proceeded gradually, but nothing to write home about (though this does speed up over time).
- Speculation abounds as to who Oracle would buy. The real question, of course, was who it would not buy....
- Microsoft starts to understand open source, albeit imperfectly, when it begins to recognize the disruptive potential of promoting piracy of its own products in China. Free distribution? 非常好!
- The commoditization of enterprise software hits its saturation point with enterprise IT buyers refusing to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Proprietary Product X (which does the exact same thing as its predecessor, with a new purple and pink interface). The stalling of new license revenue for the proprietary vendors provides a convenient entry point for open-source vendors.
- IBM grants the industry broad patent rights to use its patents in standards-based software. Microsoft refuses to follow suit.
- Matthew Szulik of Red Hat provides ample fodder for why he's leader of the free (and open source) world, suggesting a roadmap for how to build an open-source company.
- PostgreSQL releases data indicating its performance is nearly on par with Oracle's...at the rock-bottom price of $0.00.
- A report from open-source collaborative content management vendor Alfresco indicates that open-source applications are more likely to be used with open-source databases, application servers, and operating systems, even in mission-critical deployments. A troubling trend for the proprietary vendors.
- Mark Webbink leaves Red Hat to corrupt innocent legal minds with notions like "freedom" at Duke Law School. It's a shame that we ever have to say goodbye to people like this.
- Despite being a closed platform, the Mac continues to boom among open-source developers and business people. Who says we don't like pretty shiny things? My grandma, for one.
- Sun continues to post good results that demonstrate a recovery, with open source at its heart. But can it continue?
- The United States Supreme Court brings a measure of patent sanity to the world with KSR vs. Teleflex, which ruling has a positive effect on other patent suits in US courts' backlogs. Can it continue?
- Fake Steve Jobs turns out to be just another frigtard: Dan Lyons. It was fun while it lasted. Dan decides to continue the blog, but the bloom is off the rose.
- The Apache web server market share appears to slip by 1.7% while Microsoft's IIS appears to gain by 1.4%, causing Microsoft to exult and industry observers to discredit the numbers.
- Microsoft seeks (and eventually obtains) OSI approval for two of its licenses, prompting a chorus of boos from the supposedly open open-source crowd. This also prompted some to question the relevance of OSI and, more poignantly, to question the make-up and governance of a body that plays such an important role in open source. (Disclosure: I'm an OSI board member.)
- MySQL gets lambasted for...abiding by the GPL.
- Citrix acquires XenSource for $500 million, perhaps one of the biggest coups ever by a startup, given that XenSource had virtually no sales and little control of the popular Xen hypervisor. This acquisition seemed to confirm Tim O'Reilly's contention that open-source companies would be acquired by proprietary vendors. At least we had Sourcefire acquire ClamAV, keeping some open source in the family.
- Yahoo! aggressively open sources competitive products to Google's offerings. Yahoo! appears to be using open source more and more as a competitive differentiator, shedding its innate Web 2.0 right to pilfer from open source without giving anything back.
- Microsoft continues to push "Open Office" XML, and it continues to sound like a worse and worse idea. In fact, charges of corruption abound as Microsoft seeks to "lobby" OOXML into the hearts and minds of the world's governments. Ultimately, Microsoft's OOXML efforts failed...at least for now.
- A false (?) alarm is raised on Google's ownership of content created by Google Apps, but fears persist that the search giant has an all-consuming appetite for other people's data. Google's rising power leads to calls for open-data policies. Google tries to calm fears by not providing any real clarification of its intentions.
- Novell finally registers real growth in its Linux business.
- American K-12 schools get smart with 800% growth in open-source adoption projected between 2006 and 2011. Glad to see my tax dollars going for something useful.
- Network Appliance sues Sun over Sun's (err...NetApp's?) ZFS technology. The real news, however, is how this legal battle boiled over into the blogosphere with executives from the two companies making their cases in the court of public opinion.
- Oracle declares 100% compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux...while simultaneously parading its key technological differentiators with RHEL. A fork by any other name....
- In an effort to fool would-be customers into buying Vista, Microsoft starts a FUD campaign against itself, telling the world that XP is expensive, slow, and not very secure. Just what Linux evangelists have been telling the world for years.
- A study shows that ignoring copyright (through fair use) releases $2.2 trillion in value. Now if we could just ignore those inane patents, too.
- The European Commission rejects Microsoft's antitrust appeal. Bien sur!
- Zimbra rocked the open-source world with a $350 million exit to Yahoo!. Zimbra had done $6 million in 2006 sales and was on track to top $20 million in 2007 - excellent numbers and a clear indication that one can make a lot of money by giving things away, and that Yahoo! is serious about open source.
- In the first of its several lawsuits, BusyBox sued Monsoon Multimedia for GPL infringement. The case settled, but BusyBox and the Software Freedom Law Center would eventually sue several others.
- PayPal joins a small but growing list of companies willing to go public with the benefits they receive from open source. For PayPal, cost is important but flexibility is even more important.
- Microsoft seeks online relevance with an investment in Facebook, which investment tells us two things: 1) Microsoft has way too much cash to burn and 2) Facebook's valuation reflects a belief that it has a lot of potential that it has shown a complete inability to monetize. Perhaps Microsoft can help, but given its track record online...? Microsoft pats itself on the back for its "deal."
- Radiohead lets fans name their price for its newest album, In Rainbows. Fans pretend to be fans and then go cheap on the band, eventually leading it to yank the promotion.
- A majority of enterprises indicate that cost is a primary driver for their decision to use open source (80%), but so is the flexibility and security that comes from having source code (57%). And to think the proprietary vendors have been telling us all these years that source code doesn't matter....
- IBM tries to patent everything that moves including, among many other dubious things, offshoring and patent trolling. After public backlash, it repents and agrees not to do it again. Until tomorrow.
- The 451 Group finds that the pace of open-source mergers and acquisitions has accelerated recently. Will there be any of us left to buy in 2008?
- Uruguay announces that it will be buying 150,000 One Laptop Per Child machines. Unfortunately for OLPC, it is one of the few, with increasing numbers of companies stepping into the fray to compete with OLPC on its turf. Good for developing nations, bad for Mr. Negroponte.
- SAP acquires Business Objects as the consolidation frenzy reaches fever pitch, with Oracle trying for BEA, too, and IBM later buying Cognos to keep up with the Joneses.
- Google talks about open sourcing Orkut. Nobody cares.
- Patent troll IP Innovation launches a patent infringement suit against Novell and Red Hat for alleged Linux desktop violations of its IP. Curiously, Microsofties join IP Innovation to sue innocent companies. Imagine that. IP Innovation excuses its actions by saying, "We don't despise anyone in particular. We hate everyone."
- Nobel Prize-winning work suggests that an open-source approach is required for innovation. No surprise there....
- Steve Ballmer indicates that he's in the market to buy open-source companies. No one lines up to be acquired.
- Medsphere finally closes its legal shenanigans by making peace with the Shreeves. About time.
- Red Hat puts an executive in charge of "Transformation." Assuming the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" principle applies to Red Hat, many speculate that Red Hat must need fixing.
- Oracle users admit to having a profound fetish for MySQL. Oracle, however, is so massive that its database business is almost a rounding error. MySQL who?
- Whatever the number (this time $22 billion by 2010), analysts believe open source has a rosy future.
- 55% of US IT workers are dabbling with open source in production environments. The only real news is that the number isn't much higher.
- Sun and Red Hat announce a partnership to collaborate on open-source Java. More LAMJ to come?
- Google announces its open-source mobile platform, dubbed "Android." The media then proceeds to discuss it for the next two months while Google does nothing more with it.
- Microsoft announces that it will let developers look at its .Net reference libraries source code by the end of the year in a sign that the company recognizes the need to at least go through the motions of open source. This doesn't fix the fact that 90% of IT executives report having concerns with Vista, but hey! You can't have everything.
- Facebook demonstrates that it's really not to be trusted with its users' data, launching an ill-fated Beacon product and doing a terrible PR job when the industry rightly complains. Meanwhile, Google takes its own lumps on Capitol Hill as Congress asks questions of its growing power and privacy policies.
- Red Hat beats out Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and every other IT vendor on the planet as CIOs' top pick for value, four years running.
- MySQL introduces a proprietary product called "Workbench." A sign of a proprietary future?
- The industry finally starts to grok that open document formats may not matter very much if Microsoft locks down the content network with Sharepoint.
- Microsoft beats its chest over Internet Explorer's alleged security supremacy over Firefox. The impact knocks it down...along with its specious evidence. Of course, Microsoft's shared-source model actually creates far worse problems than open source could. But Microsoft doesn't talk about that much.
- Gartner suggests that it inhabits a completely different planet by woefully underhyping open source.
- The 451 Group discovers that the SMB market is not ripe for open source. It's all Windows for you folks!
- Analysts suggest that technology spending is set to plunge. Open-source vendors rub their hands in anticipation.
- Red Hat ends the (calendar) year with an exceptional third quarter, but doubts still persist as to its viability. Plus ca change....
- Matthew Szulik resigns as CEO of Red Hat for personal reasons, and is replaced by Delta Air Lines COO. Perhaps it's not as bad as I thought.
That's the year. While the proprietary world consolidates the open-source world expands its footprint and deepens its roots within enterprises across the globe. There has never been a better time to work in the open-source economy. What a fantastic year this has been.