Subject: Re: Open Source - Resources doubt
From: "Matthew C. Weigel" <weigel+@pitt.edu>
Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2001 00:05:06 -0400 (EDT)

There are a few answers to your question.

One is, if you look at www.opensource.org, we all have the same
question - "...please send us URLs of articles and papers on commercial
trials of the open source model...."

Another is on the personal level.  If you want to contribute to open
source or free software, get a job and put some of your spare time into
a project to which you have some attachment.  As Eric Raymond is so
fond of pointing out, it's a gift culture where future jobs depend upon
your contributions today.  Whether you're working as a sysadmin, a
programmer for internal projects (last I heard, programming positions
that don't involve writing code to be sold are in the majority), a
commercial developer, or whatever, you can contribute.  Demonstrating
prowess publicly can help you get better jobs, which in turn might give
you more leisure time to devote to the community.  Strong enough
examples of strong programming skills devoted to the community may even
net you a job for an open source or free software company (saving you
the sweat of figuring out the business model).

Yet another answer is, "try and find out."  Some companies are doing OK
with open source business models, and some aren't; look at case studies
on why specific companies succeed, and why specific companies fail.

Most open source companies lived and died by the dot-com explosion here
in the US, and many of them exhibited the same lack of regard for the
bottom line that most dot-com startups did.  Yet some predate the
dot-com explosion, and many of *those* postdate the dot-com implosion
in some form or another (Cygnus, for example, is now just part of
RedHat, which is probably a good sign of having 'succeeded').

There are no straight answers about successful open source endeavors -
but that's business for you.

-- 
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 weigel+@pitt.edu