Archive for the ‘Open Source’ Category
Although I've read many articles about open source licensing, I'm continually surprised by the amount of confusion and disinformation I find related to the GNU General Public License (GPL). This post is written by a lay person for other lay persons. I'm not a lawyer, but I do a fair amount of IP strategy consulting with open source companies and have had the benefit of working with some of the best open source attorneys in the world. So I know enough to be dangerous and have an (more or less) informed point of view. Read the rest of this post with the understanding that I am offering my own views of the GPL, not legal advice. Read the rest of this entry »
A while back I was doing some research for a client and came across an apparent GPL slight of hand engineered by Sun and IBM. Time constraints and competing priorities kept me from writing about this until now, and Oracle's acquisition of Sun has taken Sun off of the hot seat (see in particular paragraph 2, Non Assertion), but it's still a pretty juicy story. What's more, I think it's healthy to expose vendor behaviors that cut against the spirit of open source, creating unfair advantages for a privileged few at the expense of everyone else. Read the rest of this entry »
I've been doing research on open source licensing strategies and community interactions for an upcoming report. My research brought me to the Ingres Community Forum, where I hoped to gain some insight about Ingres' traction as an open source player. Ingres uses a dual-license model (GPL v2 with FLOSS exception) and runs a vendor-managed community.
Stimulated in part by a controversial Eric Raymond blog post, open source thought leaders like Matt Asay are publicly questioning the contemporary merits of the GNU General Public License (GPL). In fairness, Matt has long been a GPL advocate. And it's never bad to question whether past practices make sense going forward. All that said, the notion that open source vendors should simply abandon the GPL in favor of liberal licenses like BSD/Apache is myopic and wrong-headed, in my opinion.
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Some open source vendors are preoccupied with counting community downloads. Why? They believe that downloads are a leading indicator of commercial sales pipeline. The theory is that a meaningful percentage of community relationships will develop into commercial relationships, and sooner rather than later. While it's certainly true that some community relationships will cross over, the percentages are small, the durations are tortuously long, and the consistency (i.e., repeatability) of that cross-over motion is low. Thus, revenue models based on the premise of community monetization are, with few exceptions, doomed from the get-go. Read the rest of this entry »
Whether you are using a pure open source strategy or a hybrid approach such as "open core" (open source foundation with high-value closed source add-ons), a significant component of your bookings is tied to support subscriptions. Too often, early stage open source companies put a significant amount of thought into attracting community downloads and not enough thought into what they should be doing between the download event and the production deployment of applications based on their solutions. Impending deployment, of course, signals to an open source sales rep that his chances of selling a support subscription are pretty good. Read the rest of this entry »
Many software companies are operating in the dark ages of marketing. Their notions of demand generation are to drop hundreds of thousands of emails on cold, externally-sourced contact lists, watch for activity on their landing pages, and shoot at whatever moves. Read the rest of this entry »