Subject: Re: Paul Fremantle on Open Source Business
From: Santiago Gala <>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2010 17:50:45 +0200

El lun, 24-05-2010 a las 23:31 +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull escribió:
> 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

OS might restrict the ways to generate revenue in some markets (some
other markets have already been commoditized to the point when there is
no licensing fees, only maintenance ones), but it also opens new ways to
spread the product (packaging, downloads, etc.) and significantly lowers
entrance barriers. At least for me, I'll always test first Free Software
solutions than proprietary ones. This has a value too.

I guess that the balance between loss of grip on the customer and
better/cheaper distribution and marketing is what mandates positioning
in the market.


> restriction in a lasting way seems to be the social good of open
> source, and your public commitment to it.