Open Source Conference Proceedings

Last May 2004, the Knowledge Media Design Institute at the University of Toronto webcast their conference on Open Source and Free Software: Concepts, Controversies, and Solutions. It was webcast using the KMDI ePresence system, soon to be released as open source. The archived sessions include my own area of interest, "Open Source Business Models". Here is a summary from a small piece of Matt Asay’s (Novell) presentation:

There are essentially three OSS business models:

  1. Product Proprietary or Commodity Model
  2. Commodity (Brand & Servicing) Model, e.g. Red Hat: make money from your services
  3. Transitional (Pragmatic) Model. The transitional model is focused on solving problems (e.g. MySQL and JBoss) and is open source in the sense that code is open, but may be closed in terms of controlling the development process and the developers.

Asay says that open source is continously commoditizing software, forcing proprietary vendors to enhance and innovate their products, or "drive it up the stack" as he says. Here’s one more item to think about:

Q: What is the main reason that people develop open source software?
A: Because it is intellectually stimulating.

Sessions are available as QuickTime, Windows Media, or Real. Sit back and enjoy these highly interesting sessions. Thanks to William Langley of the NRC for pointing this out.

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