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Open Source Is Driving Business App Development, Survey Finds

While usage is on the rise, many companies lack key internal controls and processes, software firm Sonatype warns.

Hardly a month goes by without some fresh evidence of the growing popularity of open source software, and perhaps one of the best examples in recent weeks has been Microsoft's creation of its new Open Technologies division.

On Monday, however, new data was added to the pile in the form of survey results from software-development tools maker Sonatype.

"The survey results confirm what we see and hear from our customers on a daily basis--open source has become the backbone of custom application development," said Charles Gold, the company's chief marketing officer.

80 Percent Use Open Source

As part of its annual Open Source Software Development Survey, Sonatype queried 2,500 developers, architects, and IT managers across all industries, company sizes, and geographic regions so as to better understand how organizations adopt, use, and support open source software.

Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed use open source tools, the data suggests, while half standardize on an open source development infrastructure stack. A full two-thirds, meanwhile, contribute to open source projects.

Yet while organizations are adopting open source software at a rapid pace, many don't have the internal controls and processes in place to do it right, Sonatype warns.

Policies Are Scarce

In fact, only 49 percent of those surveyed said they have an open-source policy in place, and 63 percent said that shared corporate standards either don't exist or aren't enforced at their company.

Forty-nine percent, meanwhile, said they have no effective licensing policy in place. Only 32 percent maintain detailed records of the components used in production applications--including their dependencies--and most said it is difficult to know when components and/or their dependencies are updated.

"While reliance on open source components increases year-over-year, limitations on the visibility, control and management of their use throughout the enterprise continues to plague organizations," Sonatype concludes.

An Improving Outlook

It should come as no surprise that Sonatype offers solutions for several of the problems it identifies, and its data should be considered accordingly in that context.

Still, the findings are interesting, and the good news is that corporate policies and governance practices are on the rise, Sonatype found.

Full results from the survey are available as a PDF file on the Sonatype site.

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