The open source blogosphere is all a twitter April 17 about the Standish Group International statistics released on April 16, which I mentioned here.
I'm sure these bloggers are good PHP programmers and know the Apache HTTP server inside out. But they are totally misreading the numbers and conflating them with the Linux-Foundation-sponsored IDC white paper released previously. Not surprisingly some enterprising journalists are reporting on the blogospherists' opinions rather than going back to the source and checking with Standish. Apparently stroking the open source software [OSS] community "sells more papers" than getting the facts straight.
For some reason that I cannot fathom the journalists who also seem to think that Microsoft (MSFT) might have sponsored the Standish research. This, of course, moves the journalists from just hip shooters into the blogospherist category of Microbasher (which I define as someone that attacks the person who wrote the blog rather than the words in it, says the person is paid off by Microsoft, picks some absurd opinion such as "Microsoft software is expensive" and states it as if it came down from Sinai, and then parrots some IBM (IBM)/Sun (JAVA)/Google (GOOG)/Red Hat (RHAT) propaganda against Microsoft).
Let's cut through the blogobull. Here is how the numbers line up:
In 2007, I estimate that there was about $2.5 billion of software and software-related (mainly subscription maintenance) revenue "sold" with OSS terms and conditions. My estimate is based on a June 2007 IDC press release concerning OSS revenue in 2006. This includes all OSS, not just Linux, and is probably mostly middleware-related OSS subscriptions.
On April 8, 2008, the Linux Foundation released a white paper it sponsored with IDC that says the size of the Linux-related software market in 2007 was $10 billion out of a total of $242 billion (4%). By comparison, Windows-related software totaled 53% of the market in 2007 according to IDC. The Linux-related software market includes some of the estimated $2.5 billion of OSS software mentioned above, if it runs on Linux, but it is mostly non-OSS software running on Linux (e.g., the Oracle (ORCL) database or SAP (SAP) R/3). This does not include any Solaris-related OSS revenue (but that revenue is included in the $2.5 billion; anyone want a Venn diagram?).
The Linux-Foundation-sponsored IDC whitepaper also estimated what IDC called "the Linux ecosystem," which includes software (including non-OSS software), hardware and professional services. This $21 billion is part of an overall total over a trillion according to other publicly released IDC data. (Standish uses the same overall IT market estimate but I do not know what source Standish used.) This number does not relate to the rows about and below it in the chart.
Based on reading the Standish press release (I did not talk to Jim Johnson about this), Standish feels the 2007 software market would have been larger if not for IT departments using OSS without subscribing to maintenance (and possibly other software-related services).
The factoid that is gaining all the attention: Standish estimates that by some point in the future, the delta between reality and what might have been will be $60 billion. I don't see that happening to that degree (that would be 20% of the market in 2012) but some such fall off is very likely (and Standish has a good track record of seeing such trends).
Yesterday I attended a webinar at which Casey Coleman, CIO of the U.S. GSA, spoke. She mentioned that a particular OSS knowledge management package she used was so stable (and her department's use of it was so stable) that the GSA has stopped subscribing to maintenance. This is not money taken away from Microsoft (and if it were, why would Microsoft sponsor Standish's report?)
Drip by drip, that's where the $60 billion would come from.
Ok? There'll be a test at noon.