Monday, December 1, 2008

Open Source: The Model Is Broken .. NOT!

Stu Cohen, CEO of the Collaborative Software Initiative has written an article in a BusinessWeek special on open source. I wrote the following comment there but thought I'll blog it too as I totally disagree with Stu.

Stu, I couldn't disagree more. If the open source vendor offers nothing other than bug fixes, then yes its hard to sustain itself.

However, a true technology provider is a partner of the customer in helping them navigate technology to solve business problems. If you achieve that then you don't need to hold some proprietary IP and use open source effectively as a trojan horse to get your software in.

That's what we're doing at WSO2 and doing very well with it. ALL of our IP is open source and we don't hold anything back - we have lots of big and small customers who pay us because we deliver real value to them. The fact that we are not holding something back as a way to force them to pay for it has not been a problem at all.

Let me also point out another flaw in your argument: if collaboration is really happening, then how do you prevent the community from re-inventing your precious, closed-source value-add? So you're clearly not interested in doing truly open collaboration in that case!

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