Open Source and Business
April 9, 2007 2 Comments
In dealing with Open Source in the business world, it’s amazing how often I run into statements like “we don’t use Open Source because we need a supported product” or “isn’t all Open Source no cost” or “yeah, but you can’t make money with Open Source”. I think some of this misinformation is simply the fact that Open Source is a new way of doing things. Old habits die hard. Another part of it, of course, is the FUD spread by some straining to maintain the status quo. I won’t touch on that part today though ;) The fact is (in order) commercial Open Source companies have to offer quality support – it’s where they provide value and therefore where they make their money. They’re not selling you boxed bits. All Open Source does not come at no cost. There are many examples of this, but the misconception remains a common one. As for the last one, there are a ton of companies making money with Open Source. In some cases, lots of money. The fact that being Open can be extremely good for business is actually what sparked this post. This is from a recent post by Jonathan Schwartz:
For years we were called proprietary – a moniker that did more damage to Sun than any market downturn. And frankly, we’ve spent years recovering. But at this point, my hope is we’ve completely turned that slur on its head, that we’ve come to define open – more open than any other vendor, more open than open itself. From silicon to systems, software to storage and services.
Where open translates to “open to opportunity.”
So how is the Sun stock doing since the transition started? In the last two years the stock has almost doubled. The general consensus about Sun has gone from one of near death to one of rejuvenated innovation. Open Source isn’t only good for the consumer, it’s good for the whole chain. It’ll just take some longer to figure that out than others.