Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm seeing that the open source solutions are growing rapidly & many companies use them now. What do you think the future for commercial products or solutions will be?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Yannis Feb 8 '12 at 20:57

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Do you mean software development products/solutions, or just products and solutions in general? – Brian D. Dec 26 '10 at 16:48
in general , cause i see alot of people using open source alternatives – Saif al Harthi Dec 26 '10 at 16:49
up vote 12 down vote accepted

There isn't enough developers in the world to develop all the software companies need worldwide.

There is a lot of room for both commercial and FOSS.

The future of commercial software is not compromised. It will just evolve. Just like music and news market.

Natural selection will occur as usual. Only species (companies) which adapt to their environment (the market) will survive. The ones will strong resistance to change will eventually die.

share|improve this answer
The more we answer the same questions, the more I hope that we eventually enjoy a coffee together. +1. – Tim Post Dec 26 '10 at 20:02
@Tim: About that, I read on your blog that visiting Europe is on your list of thing to do. Please contact me when you decide to do it. I helped a friend from US with his first visit to Europe. That cost him almost nothing to visit London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Rome (I live in the center of all those cities). Hey I suspect that you don't post anymore on your blog because you know I subscribed to it! – user2567 Dec 26 '10 at 20:11
hardly :) Now that I know you've subscribed to it, I will endeavour to post more. I'm not sure when, but we do have a standing breakfast, even if at midnight :) – Tim Post Dec 26 '10 at 20:14
By definition this isn’t natural selection but a different kind (mostly selection by economic pressure). – Konrad Rudolph Dec 27 '10 at 15:00

I think what you really mean is proprietary products. There are a great many commercial and open source products on the market.

Barring some kind of idealistic unification in world cultures, I think that the law of supply and demand will continue to hold. If your product is proprietary but more feature rich and stable than free / open source products, you will continue to find a market for decades to come.

I think the trend will start to shift when it is 'safe to assume (tm)' that most computer users are also somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to programming. I don't see that happening for generations, however.

Right now, most computer users (perhaps I'm dangerously generalizing here, forgive me if I am) want to share their programs. When people begin demanding that they be able to modify their software to do what they want it to do with the same enthusiasm that sharing received, well ... we'll see.

I also think we have yet to see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what SAAS is going to do to market wide.

In short, I predict that the innovation that we'll see over the next 60 years will pale only in comparison to the subsequent litigation that results. Your question comes into play when software is not designed in a court of law.

share|improve this answer

While there are some open source products which are indeed popular and professionally developed, I don't think that they pose any challenge to commercial mode of development, in fact I foresee some sort growth of some sort of hybrid model where we have an open source product at the core which is used to generate revenue either by customization, support, consultancy or downstream development. In fact I see bigger threat to commercial development from collapse of IP regime.

share|improve this answer
IP regime? Intellectual Property? How and what will cause the collapse? – snmcdonald Dec 26 '10 at 17:16
@snmcdonald This is a hunch of course but I think sharing will cause commercial development in present form to end at least as far as personal computing is concerned. – Gaurav Dec 26 '10 at 19:28

I think there will be enough rooms for both: commercial & open source. The FOSS have great support from community, but it lacks the ability of direction.

Most of technology revolution that I have seen rise to be an entrepreneur. Google, Facebook, Iphone, Ipad,... and they are all associated with some famous name, like Steve Jobs, Mark Zukernberg. The open source community is large, but divided. There are lots of distro for Linux, for example.

share|improve this answer

I think the answer can be found in terms of making a copy of your DVDs so you can watch them on your portable device of choice.

You can do this with open source software - mostly - but obtaining same and the instructions for use can tax the patience and the grey cells of someone who theoretically is both competent and comfortable with the technology. This before you try and work out what all the settings mean...

Or you can pay a small amount of money for a commercial piece of software that more or less reduces the exercise to: 1) Load Disk 2) Click.

Most people want stuff that "just works" and continues to do so - they've no more interest in how it works than in how an internal combustion engine functions or why planes stay up - just so long as it does.

share|improve this answer

This debate is so value-loaded that it's become impossible to see the two ideas for what they are: they're just business models.

All software costs someone time and/or money to make and/or use, so any business model is capable of being inappropriate in certain situations.

Different business models exist in every industry and market to (at least temporarily) offset those costs based on the resources available. I don't see why it would be any different for software.

Both business models are capable of hurting people. There are tons of programmers out there that have become incapable of feeding their families because their work had been replaced by open source software that wasn't necessarily better, but happened to cost $0. Meanwhile there are programmers that eat money for breakfast while exploiting their customers.

Either way, both models will continue to exist by necessity if not by ideology.

By the way if you look at rich client software (e.g. online games), it's clear that payment can be enforced for certain kinds of software. Those ones will always be commercial.

share|improve this answer

It's good to remember that there are lots of different markets out there. Most coarsely: the individual consumers, and the others.

Commercial solutions are indeed having hard times in the dozenware consumer field. Widely interesting field == lots of open source developers == lots of competition == lots of high-quality free alternatives.

This would already be hard enough to compete against without the additional fact that consumers are extremely price-aware. Even if you ask just $1 for your product, it's too much if someone offers an equivalent product for free. You can only try to compete with some additional services, support and such. The profit margins will be ridiculously small. It's not fun.

Then there's the long tail: specialized niche products. There's way less open source / free competition in fields that are interesting for just a tiny fraction of people, and therefore some money can be made there, even if the markets are much smaller. Need some software for controlling your space shuttle or candy factory? Good luck with finding a free, OS solution! Besides, someone who has a space shuttle hardly needs to think about saving some pennies in software development.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.