Embracing a More Traditional

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-08-03 Print this article Print

Structure"> Stacey Quandt, chief analyst for Quandt Analytics, thinks that open-source projects today often have little choice but to embrace a more traditional commercial structure. "Today most open-source-related companies, whether they seek venture capital or not, need to define their market and objectives in the context of technical maturity, commercial support and partnerships with system vendors and independent software vendors, licensing, and the vibrancy of their respective open-source communities," said Quandt.
In particular, Quandt sees "several companies" following this trend.
For example, she points to the "companies focusing on the certified LAMP [Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl/PHP/Python] stack [such as], SpikeSource and SourceLabs. Then there are the companies focused on business intelligence, such as Greenplum and JasperSoft." Quandt wonders, though, whether this commercialization of open source may be a short-term trend. "Most of these companies may be seeking a buyout, such as Gluecode, which was acquired by IBM. Read more here about IBMs purchase of Gluecode. There may well be buyers for these next-generation open-source businesses. "It is only a matter of time before IBM focuses on a delivering a certified LAMP stack. Also HP is likely to augment its open-source reference architecture with more value-added software and services," said Quandt. That said, its certainly not all about having the right exit strategy. "Its clear that some of these [businesses] will work. Examples [of ones that work] are JBoss and MySQL. Their approaches do appear to be working for them. Its also clear that approach will not work for everyone," said IDCs Kusnetzky. Haff sees the same thing. "There are few enough examples of companies that are purely Professional Open Source prospering. Red Hat is much more the exception than the rule." Next Page: Evolving expectations.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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