Subject: Re: Paul Fremantle on Open Source Business
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2010 23:31:17 +0900

simo writes:

 > The business advantages are 2 and are unique to a business that not only
 > provides code availability but is also very good at community
 > building. 

You mean like Aladdin Software of the 90s?  Ghostscript was a pretty
tight community back when I needed them.  Not just Peter, but lots of
people.  And I don't recall anybody complaining about the Aladdin
license, except RMS; the pressure for converting the license to GPL
came much later.

There's no question that a firm that specializes in open source can
leverage that specialization in community building, but don't try to
tell me that the moral high ground has nothing to do with that.  

 > Merely releasing (dumping) some piece of software with a Free License,
 > does not magically create a development community. Without a community
 > it is basically just a marketing stunt.

You're right.  How about that Eclipse community, then?  What was the
name of the open source business that fostered that one? ;-)

I really don't think it's a good idea to underestimate what IBM, HP,
or Oracle can do in terms of building community, if that seems like a
good idea to them.

So we're back where we started.  Open source seems like a good focus,
but it's no better than any other focus.  And it restricts the ways
you can generate revenue, compared to your direct competitors who have
chosen a different focus.  The available tool to leverage that
restriction in a lasting way seems to be the social good of open
source, and your public commitment to it.