OpenLogic Kicks Off Open Source Head Count

OpenLogic, a provider of open source packages, kicked off the data-gathering second phase of a global project aiming to collect and share quantitative data on the use of open source software. The company on Wednesday announced an initial list of 10 survey sponsors and launched a census designed to survey the land of open source.

Companies and individuals are now able to anonymously submit data on their use of open source though The Open Source Census Web site. Participants in The Open Source Census will also gain access to reports that benchmark their open source usage.

In early December, OpenLogic announced the first phase with the release of a free tool, OpenLogic Discovery, to help businesses identify open source products installed on their networks. The company also at that time issued a call for open source developers, software vendors and large independent software vendors (ISVs) to join The Open Source Census project.

“This is not a one-shot thing. We will issue reports on a quarterly basis. We also have talked to some proprietary vendors and expect them to sign on as survey sponsors at some point,” Kim Weins, senior vice president of marketing for OpenLogic, told LinuxInsider.

Sponsor Roll Call

Survey sponsors will encourage their channel partners and customers to participate in the open source software survey. Sponsors will also promote open source through a variety of marketing efforts, Weins said.

Research firm IDC, one of the initial sponsors, will use some of the survey results in freely distributed research reports to help promote open source. IDC will also provide some research involving open source products in its commercial or for-sale industry analysis research reports, she said.

The Open Source Census is a collaborative project established by OpenLogic and a wide range of sponsors, including IDC; CollabNet; Holmes, Roberts & Owen; Navica; Olliance Group; Open Solutions Alliance; Open Source Business Foundation; O’Reilly Media; and Unisys. The survey results are aimed at providing open source communities and vendors improved data on how open source software is used in the enterprise.

The Open Source Census also has enlisted advisors from the open source development community, including Jim Jagielski, chairman of the Apache Foundation, and Tony Wasserman, director of the Software Management Program at Carnegie Melon West, according to Weins.

Census Goals

The idea behind holding a survey of open source use came from informal conversations OpenLogic had with its customers. Many enterprises do not know or only recently have learned what open source software is installed on servers and desktops. This makes traditional market research methodologies insufficient to identify what open source projects are gaining traction in the enterprise.

“One of the benefits of participating in the census is that participating vendors can benchmark their inventories. This will serve as an indicator of market growth,” said Weins.

These reports will enable companies to benchmark their own open source usage and identify opportunities to leverage the benefits of more open source software, she added.

Survey participants can download the free OSS Discovery tool to scan any of their computers and contribute the scan results for free to the Open Source Census database anonymously. Once they have contributed scans, participants will have access to reports that summarize their own open source usage and provide comparisons to other similar companies.

Getting Results

OpenLogic will provide aggregate, anonymous data collected through The Open Source Census for free. This aggregate data will list the number of times each project has been installed on computers across all participating enterprises and individuals. This will enable open source communities and developers to track usage of their projects.

Companies that contribute scans to the census receive online access to a summary of their own open source usage, as well as comparisons to industry benchmarks. This can help enterprises uncover new opportunities to leverage the functionality, quality and cost savings associated with open source software, Weins said.

“It will take some time to get going with the results. We should be up to speed by the summer conferences,” said Weins.

Global Reach

Survey researchers hope vendors and open source communities will view the results as a valuable marketing mechanism. The reports will present a detailed global view of what open source projects are in high demand and what usage trends are.

OpenLogic is pleased that some of the initial survey sponsors are reputable foreign organizations, said Weins. For instance, an organization that may be the European equivalent of the U.S.-based Open Solutions Alliance is the Open Source Business Foundation based in Nuremberg, Germany.

“The spread of open source is pretty universal. We’re a European network of companies, institutions and individuals concerned with the commercial use of open source software” said Frank P. Sempert of the Open Source Business Foundation. “So much of open source software code has originated in Europe. It will be great to see how much open source adoption has taken place,” he said.

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