Marten Mickos emailed to point out the MySQL Workbench offering (a good FAQ here). As I’ve said before, MySQL gets it.

Why?

Well, in the eyes of commercial enterprise software vendors, the optimal result is for OSS vendors to stick to their “OSS religious” roots. An incredibly low % of OSS users end up paying for the software/subscription. This means that OSS Vendor A doesn’t have the financial resources to close the feature/function gap vs. Enterprise Vendor B. That’s why growing an OSS business beyond $100M is more difficult than getting to $100M.

Yes, OSS is already competing with enterprise software, and innovating in certain aspects, especially in fast time-to-value and lightweight application scenarios. But if you think that most OSS products are ready to replace their commercial enterprise counterparts in higher-end deployments (hint: where the profits are), then we can agree to disagree. Is OSS growing towards the high end? Absolutely. But commercial enterprise software vendors aren’t standing still. If OSS is to significantly close this gap we’ll need to see a lot more investments in OSS product development. You can’t get this scale of investments through “community contributors”. These investments have to come from a larger % of customers paying for the OSS vendor’s product (or from funds from an IPO).

I believe that MySQL is doing the absolute right thing in delivering MySQL Workbench as an OSS product, with a commercial version that builds on the OSS version.

This is the future of the software market; where vendors use a combination of OSS & commercial products to drive benefits for customers (paying and non-paying). <Note, we’ve been doing this with the IBM WebSphere Application Server business for the past 2 years now and our revenue growth speaks for itself.>

Burning boats is a great survival tip if you’re lost in the wilderness….maybe not for running a software business ;-)