CompanyJune 13, 2019

Why Open Source Is Both the Past and the Future

Louise Westoby
Louise Westoby
Why Open Source Is Both the Past and the Future

The open source software market is expected to reach $32.95 billion by 2022, nearly tripling in growth in five years. Certainly the fact that 98% of developers use open source tools—even when they’re not supposed to—has something to do with this.

A successful open source project requires the support of a strong community, including documentation, code contribution, testing, and bug fixing.

DataStax recently announced its continued commitment to open source with expanded support of open source Apache Cassandra®. DataStax is the top maintainer of the Cassandra open source project, contributing the majority of the commits and continuing to take the lead in Cassandra development and engagement via events like DataStax Accelerate.

Suffice it to say that we believe in the promise of open source, big time. But before we explore what the future of open source looks like, let’s look at where it comes from.

A Brief History of Open Source

In the 1950s and ‘60s, computers came preloaded with software. It wasn’t until the 1970s and ‘80s that software companies started selling licenses.

At the time, Richard M. Stallman, a staff programmer at MIT, saw the move to proprietary software as a betrayal of hacker culture. In September 1983, he announced an open source distribution of Unix called GNU, ostensibly giving birth to the modern open source movement.

Some of the more well-known open source projects include:

  • Linux, an open source operating system similar to Unix
  • Java, a popular open source programming language
  • Git, a distributed version control platform for coding

Enterprises Buy into the Promise of Open Source

While some companies were initially scared to use open source solutions, that’s no longer the case. A 2018 survey by The Linux Foundation found that 72% of companies were using open source software in one form or another. This widespread adoption has translated into serious returns, and now many companies based on open source software are the innovation leaders in their industries.

The Open Source Projects Changing the World Today

From databases and operating systems to team messaging platforms and containerization solutions, there’s no shortage to the way open source software is transforming our lives.

Here are six different kinds of projects to get you thinking about what’s possible in the world of open source.

1. Apache Cassandra

Cassandra is an open source distributed database that delivers the high availability, performance, and linear scalability modern applications demand. We believe in Cassandra so much that we built a whole company around it. If you’re looking for a production-certified distribution of Cassandra that’s 100% open source compatible and comes with support from the Cassandra experts, check out DataStax Distribution of Apache Cassandra.

2. Android

Android is an open source mobile operating system developed by Google and released in 2008. If you don’t have an iPhone, chances are your phone runs on Android; in May 2017, Google announced that there were more than two billion active Android devices. Lots of engineers prefer Android because they can speed up the development process by leveraging tools and frameworks built by the open source community.

3. Docker

Docker is an open source containerization platform that lets developers create, deploy, and run applications anywhere. This accelerates the development process considerably, which is why many of today’s top-performing DevOps teams use containers to build applications.

4. Mattermost

Mattermost is an open source team messaging platform that gives companies more control over their data by enabling them to host their server on-premises or in a private cloud. This compares to other popular proprietary platforms that host data on the vendor’s cloud. Due to its open source nature, Mattermost integrates with DevOps tools and can be extended and customized with plugins.

5. Kubernetes

Kubernetes (also called k8s) is an open source container orchestration platform originally developed by Google. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation currently maintains the project. Kubernetes automates container deployment, scaling, and management. Because it’s a pluggable platform, Kubernetes has an extremely rich ecosystem; a collaboration across many industries and organizations to create something that goes far beyond one open source project.

6. WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!

WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! are the three most popular content management systems (CMS), and they all happen to be open source. While WordPress commands nearly 60% of the market, Drupal and Joomla! have a 6.7% and 4.7% share, respectively. Chances are the bulk of the content you consume every day is posted via an open source CMS.

The Future Is Open Source

From robust user communities and customizability to source code access and more control, open source software delivers a number of benefits to businesses of all sizes. Open source software has already come a long way in a short period of time. And it remains to be seen what the future holds. But here at DataStax, we’re excited to keep contributing to the open source world and working with user communities to build powerful platforms that help organizations like yours change the world.

What's new in Apache Cassandra 4.0? (video)



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