Monday, March 23, 2009

Being an open source vendor is like being Irish

There's been a lot of flap recently about the definition of an open source vendor.

Just about every piece of software these days will have some fraction that is based on open source code, so every software company is to some degree an open source vendor. And in the process of developing this code, the company's developers will need to participate in the community of those projects, and possibly fix bugs and contribute features.

So, whether you are an open source vendor, or for that matter, open core vendor or free software vendor is a question of degree. That means that everyone gets to argue what level the bar is set, and it all descends into silliness.

It reminds me of the fact that, especially at this time of year, everyone in the United States gets to be Irish.

In contrast, there is a very clear definition for open source software. The beauty of it is that it doesn't matter whether the software is written by an employee of open source vendor, an anarchist student, or Microsoft-loving independent consultant. If it has an open source license, it's open source software. As simple as that.

3 comments:

Niraj J said...

"open core vendor or free software vendor is a question of degree."
The question of degree is where the business model around needs to be proven.

Is open source a business model OR is it a business enabler is the question

more here http://www.gandalf-lab.com/blog/2009/03/death-of-billion-dollar-opensource.html

J said...

Damn. I was hoping you were going to tell me that Open Source vendors are red headed alcoholics who get angry easy. Because I represent that remark!

joe said...

Defininng what is in the Open Source culture vs who is just claiming so looking for marketing chits is easy for me -

Mondrian is Open Source - even Pentaho and Jasper are Open Source, they just have hold-backs as part of the business model.

Jitterbit, among others, is not - they very prominently claim their community edition is not stable - presumably to scare folks into buying.

I have bought Pentaho (2x) and Jasper subscriptions, not out of fear or because I wanted the EE, but because it is good sw and was in critical use that warranted support.

Jitterbit has the right to do what they want with their IP and it is worth the price in some contexts but they should not claim to be Open Source.