Taking turns as open source bad guys

Software giant Adobe is among those shaking heads at Oracle and its strategy, or at least lack of tact, with the open source software, including its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, killing off OpenSolaris and Java lawsuit against Google over Android.

It wasn’t that long ago that Adobe was thought of similar to how it’s portraying Oracle: as an opponent of open source. I would agree that Oracle is putting itself in the position of a top open source enemy (an unenviable title for which Apple, Microsoft and others, even Adobe, have found themselves, as well). By launching the Java suit and ending support for OpenSolaris without any counterbalance of message to illustrate that it is indeed not attacking open source software in general and actually has a good appreciation of its development and market power and benefits of participation, Oracle has put itself in an adversarial position. Sure organizations such as Adobe and Microsoft, formerly viewed as foes of open source, stand to benefit from having somebody else be the bad guy, but it is interesting to look at these cases and how the villains are typically tasked with improving their image.

By looking at Adobe and its open source story, we get a better sense of Oracle’s and others’ opportunities to change these perceptions and successfully earn goodwill among open source software communities. There have been times when Adobe was on the top open source enemy list, and it continues to be questioned and accused of ‘co-opting’ the open source brand.

However, as covered in our recent Spotlight report on Adobe (for subscribers or trialists), the company has come to realize the significance of open source and the utility of leveraging it to build and grow its own software, communities and ecosystems (something Adobe is pretty good at). One good example is its recent acquisition of WCM vendor Day Software.

We understand that while it was certainly among other factors, including paid subscription revenue from Day’s non-open source software, the open source and community involvement and activity by Day, also covered in a 451 Group report, helped to drive the deal. In particular, Day’s work with the Apache Software Foundation and what one Adobe official called ‘the technical brand recognition’ that came with Day’s work on open standards and open source software, such as the OSGi Java framework, Apache Felix (an open source implementation of the OSGi framework) and Apache Sling (an open source web framework for Java). It will be interesting to see what happens now, but indications are these Apache projects may serve as the basis for expanded open source efforts under Adobe. We highly doubt that they will be turned into a licensing vehicle for Adobe, serve as the basis of legal action or get killed off, which is what we are seeing from Oracle with its open source assets, illustrating the idea that Oracle does not fully understand or appreciate open source software.

Adobe, Microsoft and many others we’ve covered and talked to are frequently in the position of moving, transitioning and changing from open source enemy or foe into open source participant and supporter. There is no question these vendors are making these moves for their own benefit and future more than their interest in benefiting or contributing to communities and others. However, Adobe and Microsoft have learned they must contribute to communities and others beyond their own brand and interests for open source to work. Their efforts in open source software also show that it is difficult and often thankless work, takes resources and remains precarious indefinitely, when even when you contribute and participate, there are still some folks calling you the bad guy.

New report: Open to disruption — open source in content management

As our 451 colleague Kathleen Reidy, notes, we have published a new report entitled, “Open to Disruption: The Impact of Open Source in Content Management.”

Our purpose with this report is to look at the commercial implications of open source in content management. The report goes into a good deal of depth on what is driving adoption of open source in content management, challenges to adoption that are specific to this sector, the overall vendor landscape and business models the various vendors are applying.

The report is available via both our CAOS and Information Management practices and also profiles Acquia, Alfresco, Concrete CMS, Day Software, dotCMS, DotNetNuke, eZ Systems, Hippo, Jahia, KnowledgeTree, Liferay, Magnolia, Nuxeo, SilverStripe, Squiz and Umbraco.

For more details on the key findings, head on over to Kethleen’s post on our Too Much Information blog.

451 CAOS Links 2010.04.30

HP acquire Palm. Microsoft and HTC sign patent deal. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# HP agreed to acquire Palm for $1.2bn.

# Microsoft and HTC signed a patent agreement for HTC’s mobile phones running Android.

# Simon Crosby shared his thoughts on Red Hat’s abandonment of Xen.

# NetworkWorld considered what impact Symantec’s purchase of PGP Corp will have on the PGP project.

# Rod Johnson explained the role SpringSource technology plays in VMforce.

# LWN published an article on the barriers to London’s open source adoption.

# Oracle is reportedly limiting support for Lustre 2.0 to those using Oracle hardware.

# Stephen O’Grady provided his thoughts on Cassandra and The Enterprise Tension.

# SCO Group asked the judge to overrule jury in Unix ownership case. They’re persistent, I’ll give them that.

# Day Software released version 2.1 of CRX, based on the Apache Jackrabbit, Felix and Sling projects.

# Open-Xchange simplified pricing for its SaaS e-mail and collaboration software.

# OTRS released OTRS::ITSM 2.0, the latest rev of its IT service management software.

# Microsoft released the source code of the .NET Framework Client Libraries for OData under the Apache 2.0 license.

# PrismTech released version 5.1 of its OpenSplice DDS data distribution software.

# enStratus announced support for private cloud infrastructures based on Eucalyptus.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2009.11.13

Topics for this podcast:

*Cavium-MontaVista continues embedded Linux consolidation
*Day Software’s unique open source story
*DataSync and an update on open source for SMBs
*Our Cost Conscious survey and coming report

iTunes or direct download (21:39, 4.9 MB)

How Day Software stumbled upon an open source business strategy

I’ve written a few times recently about the fact that I think the open source engagement model practiced by companies such as Day Software will become more popular as we see an increasing number of proprietary companies engaging with open source and the pendulum appears to have swung back in favour of community-developed open source software.

Essentially, while Day contributes to a number of Apache open source projects such as Jackrabbit, Sling, Felix, Chemistry, Solr, Lucene and Tika, its CQ5 web content management platform is based on a proprietary license, while it also offers CRX, a commercially-packaged version of Jackrabbit and Sling.

Today I had the chance to catch up with Day’s CMO Kevin Cochrane who revealed that Day might have arrived at its current business strategy more by luck than judgment, but is now putting a business model in place to build on the company’s technical investment in open source projects.

Here’s the key points:

  • Day’s technology strategy is based on a ten-year plan hatched in 2000 by CTO, David Nuescheler and Chief Scientist Roy Fielding to create a ubiquitous Java content repository project.
  • The four steps in the plan were to create a standard for content repositories; build a community around a reference implementation; create a framework to build applications based on that repository; create a framework for infrastructure around this repository.
  • This plan has been executed via the creation of the JSR 170 Content Repository for Java Technology API via the Java Community Process; the incorporation of the Apache Jackrabbit project; the incorporation of the Apache Felix OSGi framework and standard services project; and the incorporation of the Apache Sling REST-based web framework project.
  • Somewhat missing from the plan was a business strategy to commercialize this investment. Indeed until relatively recently the R&D and commercial arms of Day were fragmented and the company was failing to exploit interest in the open source projects its employees had created.
  • The business side of the company did not know what to do with this investment in open source and an early business plan – support subscription offerings for Jackrabbit – went largely ignored.
  • Erik Hansen joined the company as CEO in June 2008 and has brought in new senior financial and marketing staff, as well as rebuilding the company’s sales team and approach.
  • Released in late 2008, CQ5 is the latest version of Day’s Communique content management software and rolls up Jackrabbit, Felix and Sling, as well as the numerous other Apache projects Day contributes to, into a commercially licensed platform targeting web content management (WCM), Digitial Asset Management (DAM) and Social Collaboration.
  • CQ5 is targeted at senior-level marketeers via a direct sales force and interactive content partners using a traditional proprietary license. The sales effort is therefore not focused on converting developers but targeting business users.
  • However, developer downloads are part of a user’s decision making process. Kevin notes that if two or more developers within a prospect have independently downloaded the open source version there is a good chance the commercial deal will be signed.
  • Day also offers CRX, a commercially packaged version of the Apache Jackrabbit and Sling projects. This has a 100% online distribution model with Day reacting to in-bound requests for subscriptions rather than attempting to up-sell users of the open source projects.
  • 95% of Day’s CRX code base is open source, with the company offering integration and interfaces that are not available in the individual projects. There would be nothing to stop a user or rival from replicating this integration, other than investment in R&D
  • Despite offering CRX, Day’s entire commercial business is based on CQ5. While the company will follow-up opportunities that arrive via CRX with its direct sales staff, it does not try to force the issue by either attempting to up-sell Jackrabbit users to CRX or CRX users to CQ5. Any revenue delivered via CRX is seen as a bonus.
  • Where the company previously lacked marketing strategy to build upon the success of projects like Jackrabbit, it has now invested in growing its sales teams in the UK, Italy, France and Asia-Pac and restructured its sales globally with much more of a focus on lead generation.
  • The early results are encouraging. In July the company reported total revenue for the first half of 2009 of CHF 17.0m ($16.8m today), up 33% on the first half of 2008. More recently the company boasted 70% license growth in Q3 and a 37% increase in license revenue in the first three quarters of 2009, compared to last year.

There is plenty more to the Day story, as covered in our formal analysis, but it was fascinating to hear how the company’s strategy materialised. While many other vendors have chosen to retain control over their open source projects for commercial reasons, Day opted to relinquish control with the aim of ubiquity.

This might initially have been a technical strategy rather than a business strategy (in fact it could be argued that the current model is the direct result of the lack of initial business strategy) but it created an opportunity that is now being commercially exploited.

It would be fascinating to see if such a strategy could be successfully deliberately replicated. I have a feeling that, for both technical and business strategy reasons, we’re likely to see a few companies try.

451 CAOS Links 2009.09.04

Red Hat round-up. EC to review Oracle-Sun. Dedicated Ubuntu support. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

Red Hat announcements round-up
Red Hat announced a whole heap of products and projects this week. They should have organized an event to coincide with all the announcements. Or something. The biggest news was probably the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 including KVM and other virtualization capabilities, while Red Hat and HP partnered to optimize Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for HP BladeSystem Matrix. The company also revealed that Red Hat Network Satellite 5.3 is now available and launched its Deltacloud project to enable private/public cloud interoperability while the JBoss community unveiled the GateIn portal, the future of the JBoss Portal and eXo Portal projects, and launched the Savara project to build tools for enterprise and solution architects.

EC to review Oracle-Sun deal
European Commission confirmed its in-depth investigation into proposed takeover of Sun by Oracle related to MySQL. Our take on the news, which some links to relevant reports and commentary, can be found here.

Best of the rest
# Canonical launched its Premium Service Engineer advanced Ubuntu service and support offering, featuring a single point of contact for Canonical’s large customers.

# CollabNet introduced Community in a Box services for TeamForge, including the services of a full-time or part-time community manager.

# Coupa Software raised $7.5M in series C funding round.

# MuleSource changed its name to MuleSoft and launched MuleSoft Tcat Server, based on Tomcat. Greg Schott provided some explanation for the name switcheroo.

# Jaspersoft announced a reseller partnership with Amentra, Red Hat’s systems integrator business.

# DotNetNuke released Elite Edition, Elite Edition Premier, and Developer Support Services.

# The H Open reported on a discussion among the openSUSE community about a free SUSE Linux version with long-term support.

# Acquia announced the availability of Acquia Hosting for Drupal installations.

# eWeek published 11 Apache Technologies that Have Changed Computing in the Last 10 Years.

# Texas Instruments released Eclipse-based Code Composer Studio IDE.

# Talend expanded with new OEM partnerships.

# MySQL founders invested in (future) open source mobile SDK vendor Mobile Sorcery.

# Larry Augustin suggested that a combination of global connectivity and open source has revitalized the software market.

# Day Software’s David Nuescheler explained the company’s use of open source.

# Merv Adrian asked “what’s An Eigenbase?”

# The VAR Guy reported that Skype for Asterisk could be a killer combo.

The patron model of open source commericalisation

Day Software’s chief marketing officer, Kevin Cochrane has recently been tweeting lyrical @kevinc2003 on Day’s business model as it applies to open source software.

In short, while the company’s web content management software is not open source, Day Software makes use of and contributes to a number of community open source projects, such as Apache Jackrabbit, Apache Sling, and Apache Felix. In fact, as the company notes: “in total, Day Software contributes to over 12 Apache projects and 25 open source projects. www.ohloh.org, an independent website that tracks open source contributions, shows that over 75% of Day engineers are active committers to open source projects.”

As Kevin explained in a series of tweets on August 10:

# alt model to commercial os: patron w/os core. at day we foster, contribute to liberal-use apache os but sell commercial product

# model gives best of both: os community dev not controlled by one single vendor (true community, all benefit) + trad software licensing

# w/liberal use, don’t need find GPL exception like a SaaS model – anyone leverage core OS components; even competitors can collaborate

On August 11 he followed up with:

# Day may not build a vendor-specific OS community …that’s because a multi-vendor community is much richer. Also why we like Apache license

# I think Apache Chemistry is good testimony to this. That project from time to time has heavy involvement from Day, from Nuxeo, others

# We all benefit. And because its shares perspective from a variety of vendor viewspoints is IMHO takes the OS better-quality arg farther

This strategy is not peculiar to Day. We have published reports noting similar strategies in use at IBM, SAP, and Oracle, for example (all those are only for 451 Group subscribers), while we have also noted that we expect the next phase of open source development to be characterised by the vendor-dominated open source communities that enable such a strategy.

I also previously mentioned that, if the trick to monetising open source is to maximise the benefits while reducing the risks, then in my opinion the strategy being used by Day and others does this better than the Open-Core approach:

“One of the reasons for this is that it sees vendors engaging with existing development communities (such as Apache and Postgres) or starting vendor-based communities (such as Eclipse and Symbian) which enables them to benefit from lower development costs, shared resources, many eyeballs etc for non-differentiating features while focusing their attention on value-add features and functionality. This can be done in a vendor-owned open source project, but it is much easier to be part of an existing community.”

What we have lacked with regards to this strategy is an adequate vocabulary to describe it. In our Open Source is Not a Business Model report we referred to the licensing strategy as “Open-and-Closed”, which did the job in the short-term but is troublesome due to its use of two generic words.

Similarly, we used Embedded Hardware and Embedded Software to refer to two of the revenue triggers used to generate revenue from this open source strategy, which are also problematic due to their use of generic industry terms (leading me to toy with the alternative Open Inside). Carlo Daffara, meanwhile, has used “R&D cost sharing” to describe vendor models that make use of Eclipse, for example.

With that in mind, Kevin’s use of the term “patron” to describe the model is certainly descriptive of the relationship between the vendor and the project. Ultimately though, definitions are a matter we will have to consider next year as we update Open Source is Not a Business Model. For now, we expect to observe the growing adoption and maturation of the strategy, whatever you choose to call it.

451 CAOS Links 2009.06.05

Spring forward. Freeloaders, leeches and hermits. Intel buys Wind River. And more.

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A Spring in its step
SpringSource boasted of rapid revenue growth while CEO Rod Johnson claimed that Red Hat’s Open Choice initiative is defensive response to SpringSource, a suggestion that was denied by Rich Sharples.

Freeloaders, leeches and hermits

I already provided my views earlier this week on Infoworld’s report about open source ‘leeches’ and corporate contributions. The debate continued as Dave Rosenberg clarified his position, and Tarus Balog gave his perspective.

The best of the rest
# Intel announced that it is to acquire Wind River for $884m.

# Martin Michlmayr: Corporate participation in open source communities.

# Open Source Initiative’s Michael Tiemann reported that US CIO Vivek Kundra has advocated open source software,

# George Greve encouraged free and open source advocates to reclaim the brand.

# Day Software’s Kevin Cochrane reported on collaborating with competitors on an open source platform.

# SAP increased its commitment to open source and Eclipse.

# Jeremy Zawodny reported on The State of MySQL.

# Enomaly launched ECP Cloud Service Provider Edition.

# Red Hat and Verizon Business joined forces on Computing as a Service.

# Microsoft, NASA and Open Source. Access to data on NASA’s Nebula cloud coming to applications other than Microsoft’s WWT, according to Peter Galli.

# Zack Urlocker posted a video of Larry Ellison on the importance of Java from the Java One keynote.

# A video of Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst discussing the “Federal Open Source Opportunity”.

# Matt Asay asked whether Red Hat’s ambition be circumscribed by its biz model.

# Red Hat released JBoss ON 2.2.

# Red Hat revealed Fedora 11 will include OpenChange, an open source MAPI implementation for integration with MS Exchange.

# Sun updated the Sun GlassFish Portfolio including GlassFish Web Stack and Web Space Server.

# Zenoss updated its Zenoss Enterprise IT monitoring product.

# Continuent rolled out Tungsten Easy Suite database replication and clustering software.

# xTuple announced the launch of the xChange, an online marketplace of extensions to xTuple ERP.

# Freescale, Texas Instruments and MontaVista joined the GENIVI open source In-vehicle Infotainment project.

451 CAOS Links 2009.04.28

OIN aims to cut the FAT. What is the point of the GPL? Black Duck takes flight. Ingres delivers Salesforce.com appliance. The ongoing fallout from Oracle-Sun. Feedback on the Bee Keeper model. And more.

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OIN aims to cut the FAT
# The Open Invention Network announced plans to review the Microsoft FAT patents at the center of its recent skirmish and settlement with TomTom. have been placed for prior art review on the Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent website associated with the Linux Defenders portal.

What is the point of the GPL?
Eric Raymond presented his “Economic Case Against the GPL, arguing that it is either futile or unnecessary, depending on whether you consider closed or open source software to be more efficient. In response, Carlo Dafarra argued that Eric’s view is based on a wrong assumption that the market is static and that “the set of barriers created by the GPL are vital to create a sustainable market here and now, and not in an hypothetical future.”

The best of the rest
# SpringSource announced the GA of SpringSource tc Server, an enterprise version of Apache Tomcat.

# Black Duck reported 42% growth in bookings performance and 27% growth in services for Q1.

# Ingres announced a new release of Ingres Icebreaker Business Intelligence Appliance integrated with Salesforce CRM.

# The Register reported that Oracle execs have committed to keeping Java open and to not killing MySQL.

# While eWeek published a list of Sun Labs’ lesser-known open source projects.

# OStattic published an interview with Karen Tegan Padir, MySQL VP in charge of MySQL.

# While SDTimes reported on the progress of the Drizzle project.

# David Dennis gave his feedback on the Bee Keeper model for understanding open source development strategies, as did Roberto Galoppini. Our feedback is here.

# Continuent released the beta of Tungsten Enterprise for Oracle, for Oracle-to-Oracle and Oracle-to-MySQL replication.

# rPath’s rBuilder is now a free download.

# Startup Opscode raised $2.5M funding led by Draper Fisher.

# Appscio secured a “strategic partnership and development agreement” with IN-Q-TEL.

# PC World reported that Europe is to fund secure operating system research based on Minix.

# CMS Watch reported on Apache Chemistry, a new project which aims to produce a generic, open source implementation of CMIS, involving Day Software, Nuxeo, Sourcesense and Alfresco.

# inVrastructure, an open source unified computing platform, was launched by Carbon Mountain.

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451 CAOS Links 2008.11.18

Red Hat’s chairman wins enterprising award. Sun updates StarOffice. Barracuda Networks acquires 3SP. Reaction to Sun’s reorganization. Barack Obama’s laptop. And more.

Press releases
Red Hat, Inc.’s Matthew Szulik Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2008 Overall National Winner Ernst & Young

Ingres Launches Ingres Database 9.2 Ingres

Sun Microsystems Unveils StarOffice 9 Software Sun Microsystems

Red Hat Increases Authorization to Repurchase Common Stock Red Hat

Barracuda Networks Launches Barracuda SSL VPN Following Acquisition of Reputable SSL VPN Provider Barracuda Networks

Red Hat Delivers Dramatic Cost Savings and Performance to World’s Most Demanding Mission-Critical Platforms Red Hat

Univa UD Launches UniCluster 4.1 and Family of HPC Management Products Univa UD

Community Created GroundWork Monitor Japanese Generally Released To Address Growing Market Demand GroundWork Open Source

Open Kernel Labs Expands Global Market Presence: Launches European HQ Open Kernel Labs

Engine Yard Introduces Developer Support for Merb Engine Yard

Day Software Announces General Availability Of CQ5.1 Day Software

REvolution Computing Integrates Their R Distribution into Microsoft’s New High Performance Computing Server REvolution Computing

Yoggie Opens up its Miniature Hardware Firewall Yoggie Security Systems

Adobe Advances Flash Platform at MAX 2008 Adobe

ERP5 World Forum Defines Road Map for the Future Nexedi

News articles
Norway encourages use of open source software Associated Press

Sun’s Rich Green Set Open Source In Motion; Lift-off Still To Come Charles Babcock, InformationWeek

(InformationWeek evidently had something of an open source special this week.covering topics such as virtualization, SOA, content management, Linux, network management, business intelligence, Enamoly, and enterprise usage in general.)

The Microsoft-Novell Linux deal: Two years later Paul Krill, InfoWorld

Business vs. FOSS: Six Pressure Points Bruce Byfield, Datamation

Rule #2: Create a community Terry Hancock, Free Software Magazine

Open source growth dims LAMP stack to symbolic status Pam Deringer, SearchEnterpriseLinux

Bug Labs creates open source Lego for software engineers Bruce Byfield, Linux.com

Blogs
What if Sun fails with open source? Dave Rosenberg, Cnet

Rumors of the Demise of Open Source Startups: Greatly Exaggerated Mark Radcliffe, Law & Life: Silicon Valley

Open Source and Sustainability, Updated Michael Tiemann, Open Source Initiative

Sun: Dead company walking? Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ComputerWorld

ZipTie: New features, new name, new license? Tristan Rhodes, The Open Source Advocate

It’s the Infrastructure, Stupid John Mark Walker, There is No Open Source Community

Shouldn’t Obama use Linux, and not a Mac? Amanda McPherson, The Linux Foundation

Announcing Tungsten Replicator Beta for MySQL Robert Hodges, Continuent

French Recording Industry Sues SourceForge For Hosting Open Source P2P Mike Masnick, Techdirt

Meet the IT Channel’s Top 50 Open Source Companies The VAR Guy