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Open source survey: Mobile most lucrative

Jan 23, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Mobile application development projects bring in more money than other types of open source software development, a study found. The survey was based on “extensive interviews” of 380 developers involved in open source Linux projects, says Dublin, Ireland, based research firm Research and Markets.

Though generally focused on enterprise and desktop Linux development, the survey also explores mobile and embedded development. Topics include languages, distributions, type and number of applications released, major obstacles to Linux and open source, development tools, security concerns, preferred chipsets, and licensing issues. A partial table of contents is listed farther below, and a link to the full contents list is found at the end of the story.

Open source distribution channels by revenue. Source: Research and Markets
(Click to enlarge)

Research and Markets is keeping the bulk of its Linux survey results close to the vest for now (except to paying customers, of course), but it has released a few interesting tidbits, covering distribution channels, bug fix durations, and types of open source projects. Here are some snapshots:

  • Primary distribution channel by annual revenue — Mobile (wireless) applications appear to be far more lucrative than other open source software, especially when the developers distribute them through online “app stores,” says Research and Markets (see figure above). “The concept of the app store for wireless devices has caught on very well,” says the report.

    Bug fix response time. Source: Research and Markets
    (Click to enlarge)

  • Time between bug discovery and solution — Open source developers are much faster at responding to severe bugs than commercial software projects, says the report (see figure above). Some 63 percent of developers reported that bug fixes are typically made within two business days, and only 14 percent said that it typically takes more than five business days to respond. “Agility,” says the report, “is a major benefit of the open source development process. Traditional development seems remarkably slow in contrast.”

    Typical open source projects. Source: Research and Markets
    (Click to enlarge)

  • Typical open source projects — Open source software was once largely confined to “geeky tools that were written by-and-for developers and system administrators,” says the report. Now, however, open source is available for just about any possible corporate or consumer application. Today, enterprise business applications lead the way (see figure above), and “the old-style software infrastructure apps account for only 16 percent of projects underway today,” says the report. This finding is “significant,” says Research and Markets, considering that CIOs are increasingly “casting an eye on enterprise open source adoption.”

Key topics covered in the survey report, are said to include:

  • Executive summary
  • Overview
  • Demographics
  • The business of open source software
  • Open source support and security
  • Open source applications in use for server and clients
  • Cloud computing and virtualization
  • Perceptions and motivators
  • Best OS for mission-critical enterprise development by developer segment
  • Hardware considerations
  • Company with the best hardware for open source operating systems
  • Open source software use and satisfaction
  • Usage plans for open source software
  • Anticipated use: security
  • Open source licensing
  • Development tools and issues
  • Linux as host and target platform
  • Top Linux host distributions
  • Language use


More information on the Research and Markets “Open Source/Linux Development 2008” report, including a full table of contents, should be available here.

Research and Markets previously released reports on the mobile market that cover Linux-based products.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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