Can an open-source project be too successful to commercialize?

Can an open-source project actually make commercialization more difficult as it becomes more and more successful?

Chris Keene reports from The 451 Group's conference on Raven Zachary's presentation. The net? Open-source projects may not be able to scale well because of some of the nuances attendant upon their success:

The hallmark of a successful open source project is that the lead contributors hit the trade show circuit while big players like IBM cherry pick key project contributors to bolster their own offerings.

The more successful a project, the more money is available to its contributors that takes them in different directions, making establishing a single commercial entity around it more difficult. While this could be a good thing for the project as a community institution, it's bad for any investors who may want to build a business around it.

I'm hoping that Raven will share the slides from his presentation as I'd love to dig into this more....

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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