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?