Open source software still growing up
Never mind the width...
When it comes to software, "quality" seems to be winning over "free" if Evans Data Corp's latest sampling of the development community's pulse is anything to go by.
BEA Systems' WebLogic Server has taken top overall honors in a poll of 700 developers evaluating nine Java application servers plus .NET from Microsoft.
WebLogic scored strongly in load balancing, platform support and diagnostics but - and here's the rub - badly on price. Unsurprising really for an application server that, at $10,000 per CPU, is outside the spending power of the average developer.
Bottom of EDC's poll according to price is BEA's biggest rival, WebSphere from IBM. Coming top on price were Apache's Tomcat, Red Hat's JBoss and Sun Microsystems Java System Application Server. In EDC's overall poll, Adobe Systems' JRun came second, Oracle was third, Sun fourth and Apache Tomcat came fifth.
EDC president John Andrews said while cost had been an important factor when picking software at the time open source and free software first emerged, it has since been relegated in importance. Cost is now in the "top four" according to Andrews.
This is the latest poll from EDC that sees open-source products ranking strongly but ultimately surpassed by their better-polished rivals. A poll of 1,200 developers rating 11 IDEs in July placed Eclipse and NetBeans last based on quality of features. IBM's Rational Application Development suite was top, followed by Microsoft's Visual Studio and Borland Software's Delphi.
Not that open source has much to worry about in the long-term, according to Andrews. Open source IDEs and application servers are catching up closed source produces that have had the advantage of receiving millions of dollars worth of R&D investment.
Open source is closing the features gap and out innovating closed source because it has broad input from the community instead of the backing of a single company, according to Andrews. "The speed of change we are seeing in Eclipse is amazing. They are closing the feature functionality gap at an amazing rate," Andrews said.®
A few examples of open source excellence
The last few years in linux and FLOSS have been very exciting. Currently there are technologies in development that will blow away most competition purely based on price, or more accurately value for money.
In the desktop arena;
Xgl, Aiglx and Compiz (or metacity), you now have visual effects surpassing apple by far but these aren't just pretty graphics they are productivity marvels. http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-7587965514994593432&q=Xgl
Evolution now has instant searching through beagle desktop search, in fact search is the word of the day. Beagle is faster than spotlight, as I use both heres my round up of the competitive edge in speed, I have a home folder in Linux of around 2-3Gb, in OSX on my laptop is probably about 100Mb, Spotlight from apple will take about 2-3 seconds to populate its top hitters, beagle takes about 0.5 seconds if that! This is incredible in your email client, it takes absolutely no time to find something obscure from 3 years back.
Tomboy, note taking on steroids...
I could go on. banshee, f-spot, inkscape, gaim2 ...
In the server arena we've got growing competition between open source projects, we're not just a one song band anymore, with bedework (caldav), FDS/openLDAP and Hula server for your mail and calendaring and the old favourites and new rivals apache/tomcat, cheetah, cheerypy... things are moving forward, not as fast as any of us would like but its really starting to shift quickly. We've also got the arrival of open source java a few (double digit?) months down the line. This won't boost IBM/Microsoft but will boost the purely open source market.
Eclipse is starting to shift focus from visual studio, and monodevelop is growing up too. With eclipse allowing a developer to rapidly develop software with some cutting edge tools (codegen for example) and port that code onto multiple platforms in no time at all the cathedral is starting to crumble, in response we see much better integration of IBM/Oracle and various other corporate and enterprise products into what is essentially a give away package.
The old addage you get what you pay for isn't quite true anymore, lots of corporate giants are giving away intellectual property to open projects and donating time and resources into what will become a market leader. Community integration has one major advantage over the cathedral model, everyone has a say and everyone is listened to, when was the last time someone could tell microsoft how unusable a product was and get a response from them...