A blog for the enterprise open source community
What is an open source company?Raven Zachary, June 19, 2006 @ 10:06 pm ET
I spent some time last Thursday meeting with the exhibitors at JBoss World in Las Vegas. One of the exhibitors was FiveRuns, an “open source systems management” company.
FiveRuns certainly will monitor open source systems, and they use open source technology to power their business. They even plan to open source some of their technology in the future. However, the company generates revenue by charging for monitoring per server per month.
Is Five Runs an open source company? There is no set standard by which to gauge the “open sourceness” of a company. One could argue that FiveRuns meets the minimum standards, but many would argue the opposite point – that FiveRuns is a proprietary services company that supports open source, but is not an open source company.
I addressed this topic briefly in my talk at the Software Business Transformation Summit last week, coincidentally in Las Vegas that same week as JBoss World. However, I didn’t have an answer to the question – “what is an open source company?”
Until there is an answer (and maybe there won’t be), there will be a lot of companies that will attach open source to their identity and ride the wave in some form or fashion. We’ll just have to discern for ourselves what exactly they mean by being an open source company.
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