Open-source traffic is way up in 2008

Venture investing may be down, but the ideas around commercializing open source continue to bubble up.

Just when I think we've tapped out all possible open-source business opportunities, I hear of another open-source start-up. Or several.

This past week I've heard of a few new ones, or of others that have been around for a while but have yet to take venture money. Reductive Labs (puppet project), Cilk Arts, RiverMuse, and Watircraft are a few that I can mention publicly, but there are several more that are still in stealth. In two cases, a business hasn't been formed but some very interesting ideas are being kicked around.

Open-source venture investing may be down this past quarter, but the ideas around commercializing open source continue to bubble up.

It's not a great time to be launching a new venture, unless you've got an idea that is long on product, short on sales and marketing costs, and inexpensive to manage. You know, an open-source venture.

Not that money needs to be involved. Sourceforge currently holds over 180,000 open-source projects, up from 168,470 projects in February 2008, and Microsoft's CodePlex, Google Code, and other repositories hold tens of thousands more projects, each also gaining new open-source projects this year.

In fact, traffic to each of these open-source project sites is up considerably in the past year:

Open-source Project Site Visitors

No, it's not a great economy, but yes, open source stands to benefit. The traffic is increasing to open-source sites. Will the money?

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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