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2009.04.01

Open Source Opens up for Business

Today, as I was reading the sourceforge.net monthly update, I was impressed by the number of business-related software in the top-25 project list. I was sure this wasn't always the case, so I dug up the corresponding the top-25 projects at the beginning of 2006 to refresh my memory. The differences are profound.

In 2006 the top 25 projects were: Gaim, Azureus - BitTorrent Client, PDFCreator, phpMyAdmin, Asterisk@Home, 7-Zip, WebCalendar, Compiere ERP + CRM Business Solution, FCKeditor, guliverkli, KeePass Password Safe, FreeNAS, FileZilla, JasperReports, PhpGedView, AWStats, XOOPS Dynamic Web CMS, Owl Intranet Knowledgebase, Art of Illusion, Ares Galaxy, Gallery, eMule, GanttProject, synergy, and Endian Firewall. These projects were mainly in the areas of communications, personal productivity, system administration, and developer software. As a sign of the times, the list included three p2p clients (Azureus, Ares Galaxy, and eMule). The only pure business application was Compiere ERP and CRM (at number 8), with three other types of software also having business applications: GanttProject, Owl Intranet Knowledgebase, and XOOPS Dynamic Web CMS.

Enter 2009 and the situation is very different. Yesterday's list consists of the following software: Notepad++, Openbravo ERP, ADempiere ERP Business Suite, ZK - Simply Ajax and Mobile, Zenoss Core - Enterprise IT Monitoring, MediaInfo, PostBooks ERP, accounting, CRM by xTuple, Mumble, phpMyAdmin, ffdshow tryouts, webERP web-based ERP Accounting, OrangeHRM - Human Resource Management, Stellarium, KeePass Password Safe, Azureus, Sweet Home 3D, WinMerge, ScummVM, Fink, TCPDF - PHP class for PDF, PortableApps.com: Portable Software/USB, JMRI Model Railroad Interface, FreeMind, Gallery, and Audacity. The projects include four ERP suites (Openbravo, ADempiere, PostBooks, and webERP), HRM software (OrangeHRM), and an enterprise IT monitoring tool (Zenoss Core). There are still many projects aimed at hobbyists and developers, but the trend is unmistakable.

I believe this is a good sign for the open source software movement. Other research we're conducting in our group seems to show that open source software adoption moves from applications to systems. Therefore, the increasing interest in business open source software may be a sign of an upcoming watershed.

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