I was thinking about how much the open source movement has progressed in the past year. More specifically, I am pleased with how the typical stance of open source proponents has shifted during 2008. I say this because much of the shift brings these proponents onto the path that I’ve been writing about since 2006. I want to thank Matt Asay and Dave Rosenberg for encouraging me to write about my views over at InfoWorld’s Open Sources Blog even when they used to disagree with some (all? ;-) of my views. I’ve learned a lot from them, and others, over the past 2 years of blogging.
In 2006/2007, most open source proponents would have argued that open source was the only way forward for the software market. Vendors were advised to adopt the open source business model completely or risk oblivion. Suggesting that there was room for both business models within a software vendor’s tool bag was an unpopular stance, sometimes to parties on both sides of the discussion. By the end of 2008, even Matt writes “we are all open source/proprietary now“.
In 2006/2007, a support-based open source business model was king of the hill. Suggesting that a support-based business model was broken was not a popular opinion. By the end of 2008, the “open core” business model looks to be a better choice than a support-based model.
In 2006/2007, suggesting that an open source vendor could be successful without a truly open community went against the core values of all successful open source projects to date. Like others, I argued that a vendor could only be successful if the community was allowed to acquire commit access to the code, rather than simply submitting fixes and bugs. Others disagreed. By the end of 2008, virtually every successful open source vendor has a fairly tightly controlled development process and this hasn’t hurt their revenue growth.
In 2006/2007, suggesting that Microsoft could one day become a contributor to the open source commons would met with laughter. By the end of 2008, Microsoft has made significant steps towards embracing open source, while at the same time promoting its one software.
I could go on, but these four shifts stand out the most for me.
What about you?