Commercial Open Source: Economic Scalability During Uncertain Times

A new IDC report released today points to the accelerated growth that open source applications are experiencing in Asia among SMBs. The report underlines some of the obvious advantages to open source, such as vendor lock-in, access to the source code, and availability to the developer community.

But the comment that really caught my attention, and which underscores the flexibility and scalability of the commercial open source model, is:

Small and midsize businesses are among the early adopters of open source enterprise applications in Asia, where the majority of open source vendors are based outside the region, according to an IDC report released Tuesday.

Taken in the context of today’s economic conditions, the ability of vendors to market and sell outside the parameters of their own sales force via the Internet will become a vital element in weathering the storm. Commercial open source leverages and multiples that concept by giving developers across the globe the freedom to access our solution for absolutely free.

A perfect example: Japan, where we have dozens of installations of SugarCRM installed since late 2005 and not a single employee ever based there.

One thought on “Commercial Open Source: Economic Scalability During Uncertain Times

  1. Just to follow up on your points, Colin, I think the report was interesting in what it didn’t say.

    While open source numbers were given in the report, the report doesn’t tell the full open source story – as few analysis reports can. While open source software has less penetration in world markets, I do believe that there is “more out there than we know” because of the free and open distribution of OSS. Until more models like Sugar’s – commercial open source – start posting big numbers in Asia-Pac in terms of paying customers (and we’re getting there) – then we will never truly know how much OSS is in use in any region.

    Full disclosure – I worked with the author in crafting this report – offering guidance from SugarCRM’s end.

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