Organizations and individuals can use open source software (OSS) for free, they can study its internal workings, and they can even fix it or modify it to make it suit their particular needs. These attributes make OSS an enticing technological choice for a company. Unfortunately, because most enterprises view technology as a proprietary differentiating element of their operation, little is known about the extent of OSS adoption in industry and the key drivers behind adoption decisions. In this article we examine factors and behaviors associated with the adoption of OSS and provide empirical findings through data gathered from the US Fortune-1000 companies. The data come from each company's web browsing and serving activities, gathered by sifting through more than 278 million web server log records and analyzing the results of thousands of network probes. We show that the adoption of OSS in large US companies is significant and is increasing over time through a low-churn transition, advancing from applications to platforms. Its adoption is a pragmatic decision influenced by network effects. It is likelier in larger organizations and those with many less productive employees, and is associated with IT and knowledge-intensive work and operating efficiencies.
- Industrial practice