Open Source Trends and Predictions 2024 From Industry Insiders

IT leaders and industry insiders share their open source trends and predictions for 2024.

Rick Dagley

January 18, 2024

6 Min Read
magnifying glass hovering over open source

Our tech predictions for 2024 are in, and we even added some "anti-predictions" — trends that many in the IT field expect to play a significant role in 2024 but our tech experts think otherwise.

Now it's the industry's turn. With so many tech leaders and industry insiders willing to share what they believe 2024 will bring, we have broken down their predictions by category, with this article focusing on open source. ITPro Today's coverage of open source in 2023 ranged from the impact of generative AI on open source software (OSS), the best open source tools for ITOps teams, and the top OSS security risks for IT pros to whether we are approaching the end of open source.  

But what do industry insiders see happening with open source in 2024? Below are their open source predictions, as well as their predictions for other areas of tech:

Related:Open Source, Cloud, and AI Tech Most Trusted by Developers

What the Tech Industry Expects From Open Source in 2024

Open Source Will Accelerate LLM Innovation to Scale AI

For organizations looking to harness the power of AI (GenAI included), there will be a shift from big, monolithic LLM clusters to smaller, highly specialized open source LLMs. Cost to train and run LLMs will be a major driver of the shift, but it is not the only impetus. Smaller, specialized LLMs with domain-specific tuning will find favor with enterprise data science teams looking for better accuracy in specific use cases than monolithic all-in-one LLMs can provide. — Kevin Cochrane, CMO, Vultr

Increased Regulation Leads to Increased SBOM Usage  

In 2023, organizations and the open source software (OSS) community saw an increased focus on open source security, with different government initiatives around the world and the U.S. government introducing the Securing Open Source Software Act to push organizations to work with the OSS community to strengthen security practices. Organizations should anticipate this trend to continue manifesting itself in two ways: through increased government involvement and, in turn, the growing use of software bill of materials (SBOMs). In the next year, it can be expected that governments in the U.S., UK, Europe, and others will continue to introduce and pass legislation, as well as issue internal agency guidance around the use of OSS, further focusing a spotlight on OSS security. As the industry continues to face new pressures around security, organizations will increasingly rely on generating SBOMs to meet compliance and apply updates and patches timelier. By leveraging SBOMs to create an inventory of software and setting up continual security scans, organizations can more effectively combat any critical or high-severity vulnerabilities coming their way in 2024. Given that government initiatives typically require the generation of SBOMs, especially in heavily regulated industries, 2024 will witness an increase in security initiatives and the generation of SBOMs throughout software stacks. — Javier Perez, Chief Open Source Evangelist & Sr. Director of Product Management, Perforce

The Rise of Open Source Program Offices

Last year, organizations and OSS communities witnessed growth in the use and adoption of OSS by organizations across industries, creating a need for specified enterprise leadership and strategy as more organizations begin to embed themselves in OSS projects. Due to this increased usage and need for guidance, organizations will adopt OSS Program Offices in 2024 for successful OSS management, fostering a resilient relationship between the community, enterprise stakeholders, and developers. Under the direction of an executive, such as a Chief Open Source Officer or similar high-level position, these offices will operate and require software bill of materials (SBOMs), identify and remedy any open source license compliance issue, as well as address security vulnerabilities that need patching, and more, promoting responsible, secure, and strategic use of OSS at the enterprise level. As usage continues to grow, having one expert is no longer enough, but rather an established group of experts who oversee the entire organization's OSS strategy. Forming these offices will allow organizations to remain agile in 2024 and approach OSS with a more strategic point of view, therefore helping maintain the growth of OSS at the enterprise level. — Javier Perez, Chief Open Source Evangelist & Sr. Director of Product Management, Perforce

Sustainability, Openness, Security, and Enterprise Open Source Software

In 2024, free access to source code for a sustainable, secure, and free open source software development will become more relevant. Also, when open source providers change their business strategy and close access to their sources, this has a major impact on many companies and developers: Official support, updates, or security patches are no longer available, making corporate systems vulnerable to threats. In addition, CentOS 7 will be out of support in June 2024, affecting millions of servers worldwide. Tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of IT decision-makers have a choice to make in the next few months about their Linux estates regarding security, interoperability, heterogeneous Linux systems management and no vendor-lock-in. — Brent Schroeder, Global CTO, SUSE

More Open Source Projects Will Fork to Remain Freely Available

An unfortunate trend that has gathered steam in the past few years has been the re-licensing of open source software with licenses that are "business-friendly" and that prohibit the use of the software to build competing products. We expect to see a counter-trend. As (former) open source companies change to restrictive licensing terms, we will see more projects fork to maintain an open source version. Hashicorp's switch to a Business Source License for Terraform, which resulted in the creation of the OpenTF foundation and the OpenTofu fork of Terraform, is one example of this trend. — Mike Loukides, Vice President of Emerging Tech Content, O'Reilly Media

Do you agree or disagree with these predictions about open source, or do you have some of your own that didn't make this list? Let us know in the Comments section below!

About the Author(s)

Rick Dagley

Rick Dagley is senior editor at ITPro Today, covering IT operations and management, cloud computing, edge computing, software development and IT careers. Previously, he was a longtime editor at PCWeek/eWEEK, with stints at Computer Design and Telecommunications magazines before that.

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