Over the last several months I've changed my opinions on open source any number of times. I like to think I'm not just being fickle and instead it's market dynamics that are shifting focus and opinion.
I was recently quoted in an article about open-source "leeches", and in many situations I stand behind the comments. As it turns out, one of the companies I mentioned is now paying, though many others are still not. Freeloaders will always be part of the open-source game, and I think we all accept that, even if it gets under your skin occasionally. At this point, I don't really care--I'd rather see more unpaid open source than expensive proprietary software in use.
In the past I've had bewildering conversations with CIOs and VPs where they told me that they wouldn't contribute code back because they had "created IP--why would we give it to you for free?" while generating hundreds of millions of dollars on top of open-source software that someone, somewhere had given to them for free. I guess that's the sticking point. Not the freeloading, but the assumption that what they created is somehow more valuable than the product that they built on top of.
This brings up a whole world of issues for those trying to build open source companies. Lately, I'm becoming less convinced that you can build a pure-play open source company if you don't fall into two broad categories: direct replacements or inventions. … Read more