A software market prediction: it’s all about open source

Over the course of 2019, the big battleground in the software market is going to be around open source and specifically around how it’s used.

“You’re starting to see the battle lines drawn up between the Mongos, the AWSs and Redis,” confirms Jim Rose, CEO at CircleCI.

At the moment, you have these open source communities/companies that have built very valuable software that is “being taken off the shelf “and implemented for money by all of the cloud vendors.

“This is not a sustainable development,” says Rose.

This model is only good because it’s accelerating the pace of software development, but it’s not economically feasible for it to continue to go on the way that it’s going.

As a result, the open source arena is going to have the most debate and most changes when it comes to the software market. “It will be under the microscope,” continues Rose.

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Open source: present and future of the software space

Only now, people are waking up to the fact that the vast majority of software and software applications are open source.

“In the past,” explains Rose, “people have thought about developing software as being a highly custom, highly individualised effort where every application that was written was its own unique piece of code and that team was responsible for maintaining and extending it.”

Now, what you find is that those same projects, anywhere between “70% and 90%” of the code in those projects come from the open source community; with all of these different open source libraries, packages and third party services.

Jim Rose-- a six-time founder with past investment from Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, and Marc Andreessen
Jim Rose– a six-time founder with past investment from Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, and Marc Andreessen.

The risks

There’s very little custom code being written any more, “and in a world where you have these very extended supply chains, there are risks associated with that,” says Rose.

“There are risks around security, where you’ve got the Equifax’s of the world, who with an unpatched library, can basically leak out hundreds of millions of social security numbers in the US.”

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On the other side of this, there is an issue of stability: if your ability to ship your new version of an application is dependent on an open source library that is constantly changing or constantly unavailable, you still can’t ship it.

Now, like never before, companies are waking up to the fact that they have to manage a much broader array of inputs into the software development process. This is going to be something that organisations are going to contend with over the next year.

AI and automation in the software market

In the last five years, the use of automation in software development has been used by those that are attempting to disrupt the market. These are the small start-ups that are taking big swings at an industry and trying to turn it on its head.

You don’t have to look far for evidence of this. In transportation, for example, Uber, Lyft and now Cruise are disrupting the sector. In banking as well, be it cryptocurrencies or banking applications; there’s been a lot of effort to use the agility and the speed of software development to gain advantage. And that has been mostly used by the early adopters.

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So, what does it all mean?

“Today and over the course of 2019 and 2020, the companies that were being disrupted, or that they were attempting to disrupt, are now adopting many of those same tools and many of those same technologies,” says Rose. “You’re going to see a huge upswing in the adoption of everything across the board: from everything that was the purview of the cloud and all the tools that go into the cloud, all the automation steps that help software development teams move faster and get their developers focused on the right initiatives, as well as all the way up into the planning tools.

“When you look at a company like Atlassian, people are more aggressively adopting JIRA because you’ve got to get organised. And you have to be organised at today’s pace of software development.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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Open Source
Software Market