by Esther Schindler

Should IT Leaders Worry about Fragmentation in the Open Source Community?

Jun 05, 20081 min
Enterprise Architecture

The history of the computer industry makes it clear: a pendulum swings back and forth between innovation (generally coming from relatively small, independent visionaries… which battle one another in the marketplace for which is “best”) and standardization (during which period the market chooses its favored product/technology, vendors buy one another, and unsuccessful companies close). It’s exciting to watch innovation, because people are trying hard to create the best solutions possible and you can choose the right product for your needs… but it’s also confusing and scary, because you sometimes have to bet your own company on technology that won’t be around for long. (DBase IV anyone?)

There’s no reason for the open-source community to be immune from this cycle. (All you have to do is whisper, “Which is the best Linux distro?” into a crowded room of techies… watch the fur fly!)Are we still in the “surfiet of great choices” stage, or (with enterprise interest and acceptance) are we swinging more towards standardizaton? Is fragmentation a real problem, or just part of the cycle?

In other words: Which way is the open source market going?