Subject: Re: Competition by internal expertise for F/OSS vendors
From: Rich Bodo <>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 18:52:28 -0700

Federico Lucifredi wrote:
> Rich Bodo wrote:
>>> 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.
> interesting. Got a pointer to Don's analysis? I could not find it in 
> my search.
Last I saw it was on a napkin at Dana Street roasting company.  I 
believe it was used to wipe off a few crumbs from a spinach quiche.  But 
you have easy access to Don on this list.  Take him out for coffee and 
quiche and he'll re-draw it for ya!

>>>  We already discussed that in the past, including appropriate 
>>> counterpoints to the effect that consulting is for the less clueful, 
>>> by definition 
>>> (,

>>> 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 ( 

>>> ) 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:

>> 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
> Best -F