At the Utah Open Source Conference yesterday I presented a dilemma. Briefly, the idea is that as open-source buyers grow comfortable with open source they will stop spending money on open source. This leads to tragedy of the commons-type problems and a difficulty in encouraging the creation of more open source.
I therefore asked the question, "Who will pay for open source in the future?" I (and the audience) suggested that the problem may resolve itself over time as enterprises come to recognize that their failure to replenish open-source communities with either cash or code may come to harm the code commons from which they derive increasing amounts of value. I also suggested that Eclipse, Mozilla, and other non-profit foundations provide an answer.
Lastly, I suggested that governments might get involved to shore up funding for open-source software development. As I noted, governments derive massive benefit from open source (and from IT spending, generally). Why not fund more of it?
I did not, however, have a clear idea as to the right way for this to be done. France, as noted in InfoWorld recently, suggests a way, as does TechDirt, which suggests that military spending could create the next Silicon Valley (so why not an open-source Silicon Valley, given how much the US military is buying into open source?).
France, the second largest market for open source outside the United States, does a range of things to promote open source, but its focus on open source for the rising generation is perhaps most important:… Read more