Okay, so not everyone agrees about my claim that the support-based OSS business model does not scale. :-)

Matt said:

“The open source doubters continue to underestimate the power of open source as a business model tool. And Savio, though normally I wouldn’t characterize you as anti-open source, you seem to want, like many at IBM, to keep open source nicely contained in a package that is easy to leverage but doesn’t impact your license business.”

I am not anti-OSS by any means. But, I do question where it’s all heading. I’ve long believed that the future is a hybrid model. Twenty years from now, I believe that leading software vendors will offer a mix of OSS & commercial products. I believe this because I’ve seen this model work already. When I do the math, it’s very difficult to envision commercial software vendors throwing away the business model that is driving a $200 billion software industry today. I am not trying to be condescending in any way, I’m just looking at the data.

I don’t question that substitution is going on, especially from startups. I am 100% sure that substitution is going on for certain uses. There are some projects/uses that OSS is the better answer. And there are other projects/uses that commercial products are the better answer. Until recently, customers didn’t have much choice and used commercial products for both types of projects/uses. OSS changes that decision, and tips the scales in favor of the customer. All software vendors recognize this and some are acting on it.

The future isn’t OSS – sorry to rain on the parade. The future is recognizing that customers have varying project needs and neither OSS, nor commercial products are the best solutions for all these project needs.