Tuesday Jan 22, 2008

The OpenSource Business

I was working on another blog when the announcement came. OMG, Sun is buying MySQL (I pronounce it as "my see-qual.") What came to my mind was actually a conversation with Simon Phipps a few months ago, when he talked about the business of OpenSource.

When mentioning the OpenSource community, people think of Sandra Bullock in the movie "The Net." She played the socially challenged nerd, Angela Bennett, that never leave the cluttered and dark room full of computers. Her only connections to the world are the computer network and a phone. That impression is really very far from the majority of the community members.

Most of them work for a normal IT company just like you and me. Their company pays them to OpenSource projects. It also provide computer equipment, travel money, and sponsorship to the events or marketing activities. The OpenSource community will not exist without the resources and support of corporations.

This seems odd since the iconic founder of OpenSource, Richard Stallman, has always insisted on Free Software. Although he interepreted free as in freedom, not zero in price. It is still hard for people to link OpenSource software with company revenue directly. It is not intuitive.

OpenSource software means big business and serious money. They are simply different business model than the traditional licensing fees for right to use. I believe the trend is irreversible and will eventually encompass the entire industry. The leading edge of this business model revolution are those so-called Web2.0 companies. Impressive asa they are, they are the leading edge and not the entire wave. The whole thing is many magnitudes of order larger.

This is a long essay to convey my excitement on Sun's MySQL acquistion. MySQL is the engine of this Web2.0 industry and, with Sun's resources and strategy, to become the same of the whole software industry. That will be big business and serious money for Sun. <script language="JavaScript"> TagStart() Technorati("MySQL") Technorati("Sun Microsystems") Technorati("OpenSource") TagEnd() </script>

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