Even though its a full two days after the initial release date I thought it might be useful to comment on Unisys' 5 predictions for open source in 2007. The reason being, if I created a list it would probably look nearly identical. Plus, seeing how most of these have already emerged as trends towards the end of this year it's a good bet they'll continue to do so into next year.
Unisys Prediction #1
Architectural Approaches to Open Source Will Begin to Predominate
I'll go one step further and say that, not only will technical architectural approaches to open source begin to predominate but enterprise architectural approaches that deal directly with open source will also begin to emerge. It's becoming evident quite quickly that governance and enterprise architecture (EA) practices must respond to the unique challenges of open source in order to reap its full benefits. Enterprise architecture is particularly an important area. With the increasing interest in maximizing the business value of open source from the top of enterprises all the way down (top-down approach), appropriate enterprise architecture must be in place to serve as the critical link from business to IT. Additionally, all of this is set as a backdrop to the growth of open source from a pure technical concern to one that intimately involves business and IT management.
Unisys Prediction #2
Specialized Stacks Will Drive a New Direction for Business Applications
Stacks, especially those of the pre-integrated variety, remove the headache and stress that integrating open source components can sometimes be. However, I actually see more and more vertical, industry specific stacks that meet the needs of specialized lines of business coming into vogue towards the end of 2007. Vertical industries are ripe for the availability of 'black box open source software' which are available at a fraction of the cost of pure-play proprietary offerings.
Unisys Prediction #3
SOA and Standards Will Close the Gap between Legacy and Open Systems
SOA is all about bringing technology and business closer at a macro level and bringing individual IT components together at a micro level. In much the same way, standards do nothing but encourage integration between disparate systems. With both, SOA and standards, enabling the type of flexible, composite applications and services required to compete in what is now a global playing field.
Unisys Prediction #4
Open Source Providers Will Boost SI and Channel Distribution Strategies
Put this way, if you're an open source company who wants to remain competitive and you haven't begun to hammer out a competent System Integrator (SI) and channel distribution strategy...you might want to ring the alarm. Software, especially open source, doesn't float in thin air until someone decides to pay for it and use it. Strong relationships with SI and Value Added Resellers (VAR), among other things, provide reach into the particularly valuable local and medium sized markets. Like any other product, open source benefits from being properly packaged, delivered and distributed to targeted segments, already primed to receive it. Currently, SI and the VAR are frontrunners for making that happen. On that note, keep an eye out for the CoRE Network from Simula Labs. Started by ex-Gluecode founder Winston Damarillo, Simula Labs also boasts involvement with open source companies LogicBlaze and Mergere. CoRE Network is an attempt to re-define,
"...the economics of evaluating, adopting and deploying open source software, decreasing the total costs of ownership and improving the rate of innovation for Enterprise IT."
It's an ambitious play, but one that is sorely needed on a number of levels. Neither do I see it pushing for the business of SI's and VAR. rather I see it serving as a single point of access for customers who prefer subscription-based SLA's delivered for various open source products.
Unisys Prediction #5
The Smart Money Will Be on Driving Business Growth and Innovation
Innovation will definitely be key, as enterprises realize that cost savings are only the beginning. Open source is already at the forefront of loosening barriers to innovation through the introduction of commoditization and the growth of open, standards-based approaches. Cool stuff.