Subject: Re: Competition by internal expertise for F/OSS vendors
From: Rich Bodo <richbodo@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 17:15:04 -0700


> Hello fsb,
>  some of you may remember my past comment along the line of "top 
> competitor to F/OSS service vendors is internal expertise, ergo 
> companies with clueful and sufficiently large support staff may choose 
> to deploy and support F/OSS by themselves more often than those 
> without said cluefulness. Conclusion: the F/OSS support market dredges 
> for IT shops inherently less than ideal in terms of support cost for 
> the vendor (they will indeed use what they purchase, extensively - it 
> is not simple "blame insurance" - and those customers are selectively 
> expensive, as opposed to an unbiased cut of the whole spectrum).
>
When I was consulting with FOSS I did notice an acute cheapo-effect - 
much moreso than in the general IT consulting I did.  I recall Don Marti 
used only two axes to evaluate customers into four quadrants - 
Intelligence and Wealth.  I believe this was a result of his having 
worked in the first FOSS marketing company.  I can't prove it, but I do 
believe that relative to products that do not promote FOSS, 
FOSS-promoting products skew customers to the Intelligent and 
Extremely-Cheapo corner of the chart.
>  We already discussed that in the past, including appropriate 
> counterpoints to the effect that consulting is for the less clueful, 
> by definition 
> (http://www.crynwr.com/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi?mss:11819:200612:cafocagihfkdchgnagon), 
> and we should not expect an unbiased sampling in the first place - 
> blame insurance should not be the primary scenario.
>
>  However, a nice trend chart ( 
> http://www.google.com/trends?q=centos%2C+rhel%2C+sles&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

> ) would seem to show that indeed, self-support is growing faster than 
> direct traditional support - what does that mean? Not sure, but seems 
> still worth thinking about.
>
Hard to say, this one looks a little more telling to me:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=centos%2C+rhel%2C+suse%2C+debian%2C+ubuntu&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

Looks like Ubuntu is just kicking ass and taking mind-share.  Of course, 
there is no telling what all that web traffic means in terms of market 
share.

-Rich