Community-Source Development Appeals in Tough Times

A combination of traditional and open-source development models, community source can save companies money and reduce vendor lock-in.

The concept of community-source development is catching on with enterprise organizations, both inside and outside of corporate and organizational walls for its ability to cut costs, increase collaboration and avoid vendor lock-in.

Community source is a hybrid development model that blends elements of directed development-in the classic sense of an organization employing staff and resources to work on a project-and the openness of traditional open source such as Apache, according to Brad Wheeler, vice president for information technology, CIO and professor of information systems at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

The Gartner market research firm claims some responsibility for coining the term "community source." In one of the company's reports, Gartner analyst Brian Prentice said community source occurs "when users decide to band together to create their own open-source solutions without the participation of any external vendor. It's an emerging phenomenon, particularly in the public sector."

Brian Behlendorf, a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation and prominent open-source software community leader, said, "Community source is where you identify a common need across a group of entities, and you put those entities together as peers to drive development, and they all go off and use the product. It's about forging an open-source development community out of a latent set of interests."