Open Source Successes

Believe it or not there is a bit of an active campaign out there to discredit Open Source in the publishing world. I’m pretty sure this is because the nay sayers are feeling a little threatened, else why comment on it at all?

So, just for the record…here are some examples of successful open source projects…

1. The Internet

Yup. The underlying infrastructure for the internet is all open…TCP and IP, also known as TCP/IP, the governing communications protocols among all computers on the Internet, are both open. Don’t forget also that the Berkeley Internet Name Domain, otherwise known as BIND, is open source, and is by far the most common way to publish and resolve Domain Name Service (DNS) queries. Without it, you would type ‘’ into your browser location bar and nothing would happen…

2. The Web

Let’s not forget that the internet and the web are not the same things. The internet is that hidden substructure that enables information to ferret around all over the world. The web is what surfaces that info up to you to consume in the browser and other mechanisms. It’s no surprise that the vast market share of browsers are open source now that IE (closed) has fallen to a wee 12-15% or so of the market and Chrome (open) has risen to hold the majority share (somewhere around 60%). Firefox is coming in around 12-15% also. I got my stats from here –

Why, do you wonder, did IE fall so far from grace? Could it be that Open Source enables a faster adoption rate?…cause…y’know …it’s free …maybe…

3. Your Computer

Whats that? I hear you say…”I don’t use Linux!”…. yeahyeah…  but do you use Apple? The under-the-hood OS that enables the pretty bells and whistles is the BSD Kernel (the core of the operating system) and that is licensed under BSD, one of the most permissible and liberal Open Source licenses. In fact, Open Source now beats Windows (the only major proprietary OS) in total user-facing operating system market share (including mobile devices, see below) (

4. Your Phone

And your tablet! In the world of mobile devices, Open Source is just killing closed source operating systems hands down (

5. Your Website

Yep. over 25% of all websites in the world are run by…WordPress…that humble, non-threatening, simple blogging engine is now an internet monster. It is also by far the most popular CMS in the world. See

Also, don’t forget that your WordPress site is probably delivered to the world by an Apache web server which is open source and holds 50% of the market share ( which, together with nginx, means open source holds about 65% of the web server market.

And more…

Well, so much more…. Publishers have been skeptical of open source for a very long time but they don’t seem to realise their businesses are built on top of it… They literally could not operate without open source…  It’s like a homeowner complaining that they don’t think plumbing, as an approach to delivering water, works. Or that houses are a bad idea. I’m at a bit of a loss to what to say to such folks…

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