Open source saturation

Reading the following post of Jimmy Schementi who explained his exit at Microsoft with the loss of MS’s interest in IronRuby I start to wonder if this isn’t a sign of the times? Open source projects get started by a small team of employees and killed when they don’t attract a community which brings them forth what rarely ever happens because everyone in OSS is already busy and either engaged with a major project, a brand which has been established a few years ago like (C)Python, Rails, Linux or Django¬† or doing solo acts as in my own case. Same with Google Wave which was promising but the only wave it produced was a Tsunami of initial attention in the wikiredditblogosphere. Everyone expected Google would bring it forth just like any other commodity. I guess the same would happen to their Go language which was started by a superstar team of veteran programmers and would immediately go away if Google discontinues investment.

There are very few brands which are both new and do well like Clojure and Scala which seem to follow Pythons BDFL model and they are – unsurprisingly? – programming languages. Are there other examples of OSS projects that peaked in the last 2-3 years and established a community of regular committers who are not interns of a single company or do we see an almost inevitable saturation?

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7 Responses to Open source saturation

  1. GoFan says:

    Go language has a good developer community apart from Google employees. Why do you think Google will drop support for Go?

  2. kay says:

    I hadn’t much reason to believe they dropped Wave either, they just did it because it didn’t caught on – much like a commodity that didn’t find enough customers, not an idea a few people follow passionately wherever it goes. Go was just an analogy, maybe a bad one when it is true that it has a vibrant community outside of Google which is backing it.

  3. karl says:



  4. Nasim says:


  5. Senthil says:

    Go and other technologies which you are talking about are in infancy. (C)Python took around 10 years of active development and then the community as you see now started forming. You might have to give such a long time for a good open source project to start seeing the community. It is a natural growth.

  6. kay says:

    Senthil, I only mentioned Go, Wave and IronRuby. All of them have or had major corporate backing and among those three only Go seems to be in a healthy state.

    The question I asked was slightly different though, namely which OSS technologies have peaked in the last 24 months. Following the commentators answers there is little aside from data storages but you can argue on that base that the glass is half full which is o.k. with me.

  7. Lawrence says:

    Inkscape is a SVG drawing application which has created multiple releases and works on multiple platforms. With the next Internet Explorer showing SVG graphics, Firefox already does of course, this application will continue for a long time.

    Processing is an IDE (java) for learning multimedia. Blender is definitely becoming a better app.

    There are so many open source systems that creating a new one means nothing. It is the niche open systems that solve a problem for specific set of people that seem to be growing. These niches then bring in other OSS software such as cairo or llvm.

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