Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: Ben Laurie <ben@algroup.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 23:10:41 +0000

Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> On Fri, 1 Nov 2002, Ben Laurie wrote:
> 
>>Tim O'Reilly wrote:
>>
>>>People keep saying sourceExchange (RIP).  But collab.net is alive and well,
>>>and doing a lot of this interfacing.  Openoffice.org, netbeans.org,
>>>openadaptor.org, helix.org, gridengine.sunsource.net are all very successful
>>>projects managed by Collab.net.
>>
>>Collab.net is not SourceXchange, and you know it. Its a commercial
>>cousin to it, but it is by no means the same thing.
> 
> 
> To be clear, SourceXchange was a *service* that CollabNet the *company*
> ran.  Dunno what called for the "and you know it" phrase; nor is it a
> "commercial cousin", in my view.

Perhaps my disappointment in SourceXchange's death colours my reaction, 
but my point was that, as you say, CollabNet ran SourceXchange, and no 
longer does. What it does now is kinda like SourceXchange, but 
different, and not particularly aimed at free software (though it does 
get used to support it sometimes, in a very non-SourceXchangish way). I 
think its perfectly clear that SourceXchange _is_ RIP, and CollabNet is 
a vaguely related enterprise.

> 
> ObDisclosure, Tim and I are both CollabNet board members.
> 
> 
>>SourceXchange was an interesting idea (and I have my views one why it
>>died if anyone cares), and may perhaps flourish in some guise once more,
>>given changing attitudes to free software.
> 
> 
> I believe I posted before why we decided to shut down the business, but
> don't have the time right now to find the post.  Long and the short of it:
> we tried to be a heavy intermediary (taking responsibility for collecting
> & disbursing payments, and guaranteeing code quality), and the overhead of
> that didn't pay for its costs.  Being a lightweight intermediary who just
> makes introductions between developer and sponsors might have worked, but
> we would have meant a much smaller number we could charge as a fee.  The
> overall size of the market of companies looking to fund open
> source work as an outsourced project was just too small.  A matching
> service might work if it was run by an org that didn't need to break even
> on it and where the labor involved could be volunteer (e.g., the FSF, or
> ASF).  Affero is taking another interesting stab at the issue of
> compensation for open source dev work.

I would not dispute your business reasons for shutting it down, and I'd 
have done the same. I think the reason you came to that position was 
mostly that you were doing the right thing at the wrong time (and I 
don't think the right time has arrived yet, either). I do think there 
were some more subtle problems, but the main problem was too much vision.

To be absolutely clear: the _only_ thing I'm beefing about is the claim 
SourceXchange isn't dead. It is. It is an ex-project. Pushing up the 
daisies. 10,000 volts wouldn't...

I think you get my drift.

Cheers,

Ben.

-- 
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