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The business of open source
Watson R., Boudreau M., York P., Greiner M., Donald J.  Communications of the ACM 51 (4): 41-46, 2008. Type: Article
Date Reviewed: May 12 2008

It is interesting how open-source business is changing the software industry, and this article addresses the topic. The first two pages are a turn off, as they are difficult to read, pedantic, and superficial.

However, if you skip ahead to “Evaluating the OSSg2,” you will find two nuggets. First, the concept of dual-license companies: “Customers may use a product without paying a license fee, however, if they augment the original source code,” they can release their changes through open-source software (OSS) or pay a fee. Second, Tolltech only hires coding gurus, and pays them top dollar. They do not respect formal education, just coding. This is a sorry commentary on our computer science (CS) and software engineering values.

The rest of the article is self evident; there is little new information after page 45. I was disappointed that an article about software business did not discuss the impact of open source on balance sheets, business cases, Ruby on Rails (RoR), and time to break even--really, any measure for a successful business.

Why don’t open-source companies hire coders as independent consultants, or do they?

Reviewer:  Larry Bernstein Review #: CR135575 (0904-0360)
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