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« Oracle's Open Source Database Endorsement | Main | Linux Outlook Research Brief »

October 10, 2005



Only one correction. Alfresco actually has more of a MySQL model, with the network/subscription component (everything open source but some services (e.g., enterprise-grade security) only available through the network). It's a case of closed network, but open source, much like MySQL, Red Hat, etc. It's not a SugarCRM model, as nearly as I can tell.

In my opinion, the open source business model will grow and take a bigger share of the market. Sun mentioned, they realised that Open Source products having the fastest quality improvements. Getting more comparable or even better Open Source products like Linux and OpenOffice this business model will win more companies which making money with services and value adding services.

The twin track play open source/commerical license options, I think has become the favored model for fundamentally open source based organizations. There remains companies who provide highly specialized but none-the-less indespensible components such as relational connectivity drivers based on standard APIs(JDBC/ODBC) that will play out more in a mixed source model. The advantage is to the developer - they can pick and choose the app server, or database they want - but given the understood criticality of database drivers, they have the optimal solution.

Kudos to SugarCRM for such a good product - both in terms of what it does and how easily it can be extended.

My one concern is that customers do not (fully) understand the benefits of the dual approach and often the 'Open Source' side of things need to be played down in case it scares them away.

This will probably change (slowly) but even then there will be two distinct groups of customers.

Zack - excellent points. What I find interesting is that as MySQL's Network evolves (and RedHat's and JBoss' too) into areas of provisioning, updates, monitoring etc, they start to look a lot like a hybrid model. Whether commercial value added functionality is delivered as software or as a service, it is still commercial value add to an open source solution. In the end, there may not be much difference between these models.

Some good points Zack. I agree that it is essential to the hybrid model to have a clear definition of what is open source and what is commercial, but I don't think that is enough. The open source product has to continue to be developed and improved. Its not enough that the open source products isn't crippleware today, it has to stay useful.

At JasperSoft, we have a clear line between the open source and commercial products. JasperReports (open source) is a reporting library, and JasperDecisions (commercial product) is a server with full intergration with enterprise directories, identity management systems, a repository, etc. Any new feature that is a core reporting feature goes into the open source JasperReports.

Another test of the hybrid model is whether or not there is any migration of features from commercial to open source. I think that as features are added to the commercial part of a hybrid model that one should expect other features to be migrated into the open source project, as possible.

Speaking of hybrid model, you also have the collaborative source approach (http://www.collaborativesource.org) which tries to limit (a bit) the Open Source Definition in order to enforce a strong qui pro quo among the users: those who collaborate get some free licenses, the others are "taxed" by some license royalties which will allow the payment of a dedicated full time team of developers. This looks to me like an enhancement to the other hybrid approaches as, if you are interested by contributing and by the commercial "Enterprise" edition, you do not have to contribute code while still being taxed for the enterprise features...

I do not believe this

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