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ngoodman
10-13-2009, 10:00 PM
Well, since it’s been topical, and I can never resist an urge to discuss open source licensing…

What do you buy from a Hot Dog Vendor? Hot Dogs, duh!

What do you buy from an Office Supplies Vendor? Office Supplies, duh!

What do you buy from (most) Open Source Vendors? Proprietary Software, … huh?

Let’s do this another way…

What do you get if you buy Yellow Products? Products that are Yellow, duh.

What do you get if you buy Enterprise Software Products? Products that are fit for use by Enterprises, duh!

What do you get if you buy (most) Open Source Products? A proprietary product built on an open source project, … huh?

If you want to be called a “insert term here” vendor should sell “insert term here.” Otherwise you aren’t really “vending” it, you’re just using it as part of a strategy, marketing, development method, etc. Which, in my opinion, is what open source is: A way to develop and distribute software, not what you are selling. Very few of the open source companies actually sell an “Open Source Product.” They sell a proprietary one and services built on top of a great open source project, aka Open Core.

Most “Open Core” companies should simply be defined as “Software Companies with exceptional Open Source development models.” You can not purchase an “open source product” from an Open Core company. You can purchase their proprietary product on top of the open source project, but there is no product you can buy that is “open source” from most Open Core companies.

See the difference? Product and Project are not the interchangable. Vendor and “Model/Company” are not interchangable.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m no enemy of Pentaho by any means; quite the opposite. Just last week I wholeheartedly recommended to a customer they renew their EE subscription based ONLY on the new Pentaho Analyzer (which is GREAT, btw)! It doesn’t negate the value they sell to customers, Open Core companies still deliver exceptional value. I don’t call in to question the validity of the Open Core model and it’s mutual benefit for those involved (as James points out consistently in his BeeKeeper (http://wiki.pentaho.com/display/BEEKEEPER/The+Beekeeper)).

Open Core Companies just shouldn’t be surprised when people experience cognitive dissonance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance) when they buy a proprietary product without an open source license from an “open source vendor.”



More... (http://www.nicholasgoodman.com/bt/blog/2009/10/13/what-if-hot-dog-vendors-sold-you-power-tools/)