|"A manager's guide to the business and organisational applications of open source technologies"|
It is surprising how long some computer software systems can hang around. A system that was intended to be a "quick and dirty fix" for a temporary problem can become embedded in your organisation and be around many years into the future. And while your system remains the same, the rest of the computing world is moving forward: it won't be long before it is difficult to maintain your system as knowledge is lost or the software tools are no longer supported.
As a manager with the long term interests of your organisation at heart, it is therefore important to ensure that you choose the software and computing environment that will have a long term future. A package that is in common use today, may be "upgraded" to a new version or even dropped entirely a year or so down the line.
The history of open source software is long and can be summed up as a gradual accumulation of shared wisdom. This co-operative, community led development model means that open source software has a long lifetime - often much longer than proprietary software. The natural consequence of this is that open source packages will continue to develop and be supported many years into the future, thus ensuring continuity for your organisation.
Looking into the future is always an inexact science, but for open source software the main trends are: evolution, convergence, unbundling and mixed computing environments. Here, below, are some pointers about what the future holds in store. There are sure, nevertheless, to be many unexpected and surprising developments over the coming years, which will throw up new opportunities for your organisation.