Big Companies Open Up To Open-Source Software

Rachael King and Michael Hickins | Wall Street Journal | September 6, 2012

The use of open-source software is becoming more prevalent at big companies for reasons including ease of innovation and cutting the time to get products to market. More than 50% of the software acquired in the next five years will be open source, according to the sixth annual Future of Open Source Survey published by North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software Inc.

The spring survey said adoption of open-source software—which is released with its underlying code, allowing any programmer to make changes—is expanding beyond technology-savvy companies such as Facebook Inc. FB +1.53% or Google Inc. GOOG +1.32% that have expertise in its development.

There is perhaps no greater symbol of the shift than General Electric Co., GE +0.80% where open-source software is a big part of its tool kit. "Our goal is not to use open source. Our goal is to be able to develop applications in a three-to-five month time frame," said Bill Ruh, vice president of the company's global software center...