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[ba-unrev-talk] The Strange Case of the Disappearing Open Source Vendors

The Strange Case of the Disappearing Open Source Vendors: interesting 
article (by Tim O'Reilly) and discussion at
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2002/06/28/vendor.html.    (01)

The basic point he makes is that the ecology of the open-source 
marketplace is much larger than just that of open source vendors -- it 
is largely made up of _users_ of open source (with many many 
corporations and government agencies included), who also contribute to 
that open source. Ie, the _use-value_ of the software is much more 
significant than its resale value.    (02)

It is still a question as to how vendors of open source can support 
themselves other than by customization and support (ie, how that smaller 
part of the ecology can be healthy). I think a lot of the de-facto way 
that has worked is that large organizations and institutions have 
supported some of their people in working on open-source projects. Or, 
to generalize, if I/my company has a use for open source software, it 
pays me to support and enhance that software. However, there does not 
seem to be a specific model for how I am to be paid if I want to make a 
living from developing that software generically.    (03)

I am in that specific situation, where I am developing fairly generic 
collaboration software, but so far the best way to have this supported 
is to work on a fairly specific application of it, where there is some 
money available to support that development.    (04)

If I can arrange to open source that software, such that open-sourcing 
is not perceived as a threat, but rather as a benefit, to the company 
supporting the particular application, then both that company, and its 
specific use, and other specific users of that software who adapt it to 
their use, benefit.    (05)

Two of the more interesting responses (have not read them all) to the 
article:    (06)

http://www.oreillynet.com/cs/user/view/cs_msg/7963    (07)

http://www.oreillynet.com/cs/user/view/cs_msg/7969    (08)

Mark    (09)