Eric S. Raymond, one of open-source’s founders, said in his seminal work, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, “Every good work of [open-source] software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.” There’s a lot of truth to that. Vital programs such as the Apache web server, MySQL, and Linux began that way and numerous smaller programs did too. But it’s not likely many people had a personal itch to create giant vertical programs such as telecommunications’ OpenDaylight and OPNFV or Automotive Grade Linux (AGL)’s Unified Code Base. Today, vertical companies focused on narrow interests also embrace open-source methods and software with open arms.
Why? Because open source just works.
This isn’t just my observation. A recent McKinsey & Company report, How software excellence fuels business performance, found, the “biggest differentiator” for top-quartile companies in an industry vertical was “open-source adoption,” where they shifted from users to contributors. The report’s data