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Open source and capitalistic communities - my presentation

My slides from a presentation I delivered at the Openbravo Community Event on October 27, 2007.

Matt Asay

I was fortunate to be asked to present to the Openbravo community today on how to build open-source communities, and make money with them. I've watched various companies go about this - from Alfresco to SugarCRM to MuleSource to JapserSoft and a range of others - and there are some consistent principles that play out in each case.

I've uploaded my slides (Open Document Format) and hope that you'll find them useful.

Good open-source communities are founded on good code, good people, and good licenses. But it is the intricate knitting together of these different things that separates good projects/companies from great ones. I don't pretend to know all the answers, I've noticed that those who err on the side of transparency usually come out OK, whereas those who are too protective tend to fail.

Matt Asay

This is because any business hoping to maximize value from an open-source business model should err on the side of ubiquity and adoption rather than protection. The more you share IP in open source, the safer it is. It's only when it's horded in secret that you run into protection problems.

For customers, the value from open source is evidently not yet clear, given that Forrester and others continue to report that a perceived lack of support is the biggest barrier to open-source adoption. Clearly we're not doing a very good job of selling the value of open source if we're still hearing this.

Regardless, I hope you find the ideas contained in the slides, as well as some of the market data, interesting and useful. I can't code, so I write. If it's useful to you, please borrow it and share it. That's the open-source way.