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Open Source 2018 Surprises and 2019 Predictions

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The future of open source is looking brighter than ever with corporate buy-in.

Given the speed with which technology is evolving, we thought it would be interesting to ask IT executives to share their thoughts on 2018 surprises and 2019 predictions. Here’s what they told us regarding open source:

Rami Sass, CEO, WhiteSource

2018 Surprises

This past year the biggest enterprises in the software industry finally gave their resounding yes to open source, giving it the recognition that it deserves with quite a few record-breaking acquisitions.

Developers have known for years that open source components are essential building blocks for the fast and innovative production of software solutions. But when news broke in early June that Microsoft had acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion, the deal grabbed major headlines and quite a few jaws across the industry had to be picked up off the floor.

The industry hardly had time to speculate on the implications of this historic deal when IBM announced their $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat — the third largest acquisition in tech history. All in all, these deals were more than enough to drive home the message that open source has gone mainstream.

The open source community officially celebrated its twentieth birthday this year. When they started out, the goal of open source’s pioneers was to build a community based on collaboration. In the early years, commercial companies were often wary of the idea of free software. Now, nearly 21 years since the Open Source Initiative started out, the software industry has acknowledged that open source is the fuel that helps feed software innovation.

2019 Predictions

Aside from the game-changing acquisitions of GitHub and RedHat, the open source management industry has also seen a considerable boost in investment that we believe will continue to attract more attention in 2019.

After finally admitting open source plays a central role in their development, enterprises realize they need the tools and technologies to use it securely and more efficiently. We recently raised a $35 million Series C in our latest funding round, in order to expand our capacity to bring our product to a significantly wider audience. Our growth is just one indication of how much the entire market is growing, with open source management software solutions currently valued at an estimated $14 billion, and market forecasts predict value to rise higher than $32 billion by 2022.

Open source also grabbed many headlines focused on the risks that un-managed open source usage can bring. The continuous rise in the number of open source vulnerabilities and the rising cost of data breaches have become a real concern with stakeholders in the software development sector. Concerns around open source license compliance on one hand and open source security vulnerabilities on the other have kept many managers up at night, across development, legal and security departments. These factors also play into the growing investment and adoption of open source security management solutions that we’re going to experience.

With the C-Suite acceptance that open source components have become an essential and integral part of the software development lifecycle, we are going to continue to see a widespread adoption of tools that can help developers manage open source so that they’re not slowed down by late-stage security and compliance issues.

We’re going to see more and more CXOs in the software development industry taking actionable steps toward establishing and open source policies and processes. We’re already seeing managers that understand if their software projects rely heavily on open source components, they need to give their developers the right tools to ensure that the open source use is being managed properly, throughout the Agile development process.

Since the open source community and developers have established open source components as a standard part of the software development lifecycle, corporations are finally seeing it as a key part of their strategy and adopting the tools to will help them manage it. 2019 will see adoption of Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools becoming a mainstream practice.

Another trend that I believe will become even more widespread in 2019 is companies investing funds and their own resources in open source projects. For years, giants like Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat have been actively contributing to open source projects by giving their developers the time and backing to work on these projects. Now that open source is going mainstream, many other companies are joining this initiative, understanding that open sourcing their projects and contributing to others is an all-around win for everyone involved.

By contributing to the open source community, companies can get their name out there, while having more excellent minds working on their code. As for developers working on open source projects, they get to flex some brain muscles on code outside of what they work on in their everyday tasks and perfect the code they are using.

As open source use continues to grow, we’ll see more commercial companies giving back to the community, as they understand investing in open source helps all of us deliver the products our customers need and helps them stake their claim as key players in the software development ecosystem.