Last November, Openbravo, an open-source software (OSS) company in business for less than three years, celebrated the one-millionth combined download of its enterprise resource planning and point-of-sale applications. While the number of actual deployments is far less, given that developers often download the software as part of a tire-kicking exercise, the high interest in an open-source application as sophisticated as ERP reflects the increasing traction that OSS is gaining in the corporate world.
Indeed, by 2012 more than 90 percent of enterprises worldwide will deploy OSS in one form or another, predicts Gartner, an information technology advisory firm; over the past four years the corporate interest in OSS application and infrastructure software has shown a slow but steady increase. Yet many corporate managers may not realize the extent to which open source has already infiltrated their enterprises--not only as stand-alone software but also bundled with proprietary applications. Even those companies that have openly rejected OSS "might find themselves unintentionally using open source despite their opposition," says Gartner in a recent report.
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