One of the biggest questions facing the software industry in 2005 is whether or not Open Source will “jump the species barrier” and start to become a major factor in the enterprise applications space. A quick look at Sourceforge confirms that to date most Open Source efforts in the applications space have been confined to niche applications in the academic space, but there are now numerous efforts underway, such as SugarCRM, to try and create enterprise-ready Open Source applications. Whether these applications efforts are successful or not is one of the key issues keeping software company executives up at night.
For software executives, Open Source presents three major choices: beat it, join-it, or co-opt it. The conventional wisdom suggests that the way to beat Open Source is to “out-engineer” Open Source by providing a more stable, secure and feature rich product while at the same time “out-servicing” Open Source by providing robust 24/7 support.
I just happened to reach Burnham's Beat, a wonderful blog on software tech and investing, via emergic. In his series of Software's Top 10 2005 Trends, Bill writes on Open Source: