Open Source in 2013

openstackFrom the ‘Crystal Ball’ files:

2013 is now here and it is set to be yet another dominant year for open source technology and development.

The two leading trends in IT during 2012, namely mobile and the cloud, were both being led by open source and will continue in 2013.

On the mobile front, while Windows, Apple and Blackberry OS still exist, it is Android that is likely to hold the majority share of the world’s smartphone deployments in 2013. Android will be joined this year by Firefox OS, Mozilla’s open source HTML5/web based mobile operating system which should hit production deployment this calendar year.

The world of mobile development tools is also a robust one and while there is no shortage of proprietary tools, it is tools like PhoneGap (aka Apache Cordova) that have become the standards for cross platform smartphone development and deployment. That’s a trend that will continue in 2013.


Whether it’s OpenStack, CloudStack, Eucaplyptus or OpenNebula, when it comes to core cloud infrastructure, open source became the defacto standard in 2012. The same is true on the cloud platform as a service side, whether we’re talking VMware Cloud Foundry based solutions or others like Red Hat’s emerging OpenShift platform.

The incredible momentum behind OpenStack on the infrastructure side in particular will make it a juggernaut that will continue to hurtle forward in 2013 as real production deployments accelerate. My optimism about OpenStack in particular isn’t blind faith, but rather is driven by the simple fact that nearly every major IT vendor that I write about is in some way shape or form, involved in OpenStack. In many ways it has the broadest set off cross-sector IT vendor participation of any project I know ranging from every major Linux vendor, to big names like Cisco, Dell, HP, Intel and IBM.

No, 2013 will not be the year of the Linux Desktop, though innovation in the form of improved Gnome and KDE based desktops will continue. The desktop is not the place where open source will dominate in 2013. Open source will continue to dominate at the infrastructure layer as it always has (hurray Apache HTTP!) and at the very edge of the network with consumer devices that are based on open source technology.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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