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New year, new site

Welcome to Open Software Trends! Some people have said that 2009 will be the year of open source, but many of those people have been saying that for several years now. To me, it's not a sudden event, but rather a constantly growing acceptance and use of open source software. Here are just a few examples:

  • As of December, 2008, Firefox had more than a 20% share among browser users. Quite impressive, especially considering that Firefox is only preinstalled on Linux desktops and that everyone else has to download and install it themselves.
  • Major vendors of personal computers, including HP and Dell, are offering machines with a Linux distro preinstalled. Almost all of the major hardware and software vendors, including Sun and IBM, are making substantial direct and indirect investments to support open source projects and foundations.
  • Commercial open source startups continue to be funded and acquired. At last count, there were well over 200 commercial open source companies, with more arriving every month. This web site is built on Drupal, and will soon take advantage of the commercial support provided by Acquia.
  • There's a significant trend from closed to open among mobile handsets. Google announced the Android platform, and the first phones based on that platform have recently come to market, with more to follow. Symbian Software has also announced its plans to open the widely used Symbian platform, at the heart of the Nokia N95/N96 and other advanced handsets.
  • More and more consumer devices are built on commercialized versions of Linux, including TiVo DVR's and Linksys routers. Wind River Systems, for example, offers a Linux platform for embedded device development.
  • Companies and other organizations are looking at open source solutions alongside traditional proprietary solutions. Very few of them are abandoning their existing investments in their legacy software, but doing such evalutions for their new projects. Of course, many, if not most, startups are relying heavily on open source and SaaS solutions, not just for their developers, but also for their products and services.
  • The open source services business is growing very quickly. Virtually all of the major consulting firms and system integrators have active practices, often backed by large offshore teams.

So there is no shortage of topics for this site. As we go, we'll add links, white papers, forums, and more.
In the near future, I'll write something about open source in Brazil. Later this month, I'm off to Las Vegas (!) for the Consumer Electronics Show, where I know that open source software will play a major role.
Please feel free to register on the site, and we'll keep you posted. If you like what you see, tell your friends and colleagues, too. Happy 2009 to all!