The last word (for now) on Open Core

The debate about open source business models is too big to be contained on this blog and has spilled over onto The Open Book on BI where JasperSoft CEO Brian Gentile invited me to respond to his recent assertion that the Open Core model offers the best model for community and commercial success.

Rather than re-rash the arguments about business models and my doubts about whether Open Core is sustainable in the long-term I decided to offer some suggestions about strategies that could be used to ensure a sustainable implementation of the Open Core model.

I also noted that philosophical debates between open source vendors can appear from the outside like a fight between two bald men over a comb and stated that the guest post will be my last word on the subject of Open Core for a while.

As it happened there were some interesting posts over the weekend that have taken the debate forward:

  • Kirk Wylie noted that just because Open Core can be done wrong, does not make it flawed.
  • Jason van Zyl provided an account of how Open Core works for Sonatype and the importance of transparency around pricing (a topic also taken up by Sonatype CEO Mark de Visser).
  • Jason was responding to Luke Kaines’ observation about the importance of community and his position that requiring copyright attribution is a greater sin than providing commercial add-ons.

The point about transparency on pricing is an interesting one and it is somewhat surprising that it has not been raised before.

That last point takes us back to an old topic but one that I think will become integral this year and move beyond terminology to identifying how and why these strategies are best utilized to support commercial objectives.

You can find my post on Brian’s blog over here.

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#1 Andrew Lampitt on 03.03.09 at 12:40 am

sorry, Matt. Couldn’t resist.

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