#GilbaneBoston: The Rise of Open SourceOne of the hot topics at the Gilbane Boston conference this year is open source. The event program features several OSS-focused sessions, there were open source breakfasts, socials and pow-wows -- all of that signaling wider adoption and growing popularity of the open source CMS industry.

In one of the sessions, the industry experts talked about how open source affects CMS procurement and technology buyers/sellers, adoption drivers are and looked into what makes OS different.

Open Source is Everywhere

Seth Gottleib of Content Here and Kathleen Reidy of 451 Group, led a discussion about open source’s effect on the content management industry, the changing business models, and buyer and seller behavior. It is hard not to pay attention to open source these days. It is everywhere. It is a disruptive force in the content management industry.

If not so long ago open source wasn’t taken very seriously by many, today the adoption is increasing dramatically. Why? Largely, it’s a cost reduction story. Increased flexibility and reduced vendor lock-in come next as other top adoption drivers.

We see broader acceptance of open source even just looking at Gilbane: there were virtually no OSS vendors here 4 years ago. This year, there are 6 of them. Today, there are more commercial OS options in both WCM and ECM markets.

Open Source and Business Models

Several things need to be taken into consideration when evaluating open source:

  • Development model: project vs. vendor, vendor vs. community
  • Software license choice: understand the terms and restrictions of the license, as there’s a difference between the Apache license and GPL, for example.
  • CMS vendor’s business model: how it works and how it affects the buying process.

A report we reviewed in the past was cited in regards to open source not being a business model, but rather a business tactic. Very often, there’s a mix of approaches to the business model with the most common one being subscription model (34%), followed by commercial licensing (24%).

The overall economy is also helping the open source adoption, be it in the low-end tiers (DotNetNuke, Joomla, Drupal), or in the high-end part (Jahia, Liferay, Alfresco).

Free Puppy and a Bag of Chips

Seth Gottlieb used a great “free puppy analogy” describing the fact that open source is not free. As the free puppy, it may not cost much (nothing) to buy, but it costs lot of money to take care of. Reality shows that you spend a lot of money to be successful in content management, software is only one part of it. Buyers shouldn’t be looking at open source only because it’s free or cheap. It’s not Costco, where you buy a big bag of potato chips just because it’s cheap, but may not necessarily be the right fit for you.