James Dixon’s Blog

James Dixon’s thoughts on commercial open source and open source business intelligence

Re: Evaluating an Open-Source Project’s Business Model (CIO.com blogathon)

with 2 comments

In response to:

http://advice.cio.com/esther_schindler/evaluating_an_open_source_projects_business_model

I think a good starting point when looking at this is to think about Ray Lane’s six barriers to the adoption of open source from his keynote as OSBC in 2004:

1. Lack of formal support
2. Velocity of change
3. Lack of a defined roadmap (that you can influence)
4. Functional gaps
5. License issues
6. Lack of ISV endorsements

Most of the open source business models in use today are there to solve one or more (or all) of these problems.

When deciding whether or how to adopt and open source technology or product ask yourself whether the business model of the project handles these barriers or whether you have to solve it on your own.

* An organic or community-driven development project won’t be able to solve most of these.
* A multi-vendor or services-only commercial company might not be able to solve roadmap issues (as no-one owns or drives it) or license issues (as the IP of the licensable code is distributed)
* A single-vendor commercial open source company typically packages the solution to these in a single offering (subscription).

If the business model around an open source technology or product you are evaluating does not give you a solution to one of these six barriers ask yourself how you are going to mitigate the risk it brings.

Written by James

June 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm

2 Responses

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