Sourceforge: About fulfilling End-Users’ needs

Understanding Sourceforge stakeholders’ expectations might help Sourceforge to better exploit opportunities and manage challenges ahead, considering also actual and future scenarios in terms of competition.

End-usersFocusing the camera on end-users by Pete Ashton

Thinking of mechanisms to capture the value of FOSS Group Forming Networks, Sourceforge today is largely taking advantage of the opportunity to sell advertisements and sponsorships, it is experimenting with transactions through its SF marketplace and sells on demand collaborative development resources. Sourceforge don’t sell individual subscriptions, neither sells information or other value added services for collaborative software production.

Advertising has increased in recent years, and advertisers and sponsors – ubiquitous stakeholders in the internet era – might be interested to persuade potential customers to buy some services Sourceforge is not selling today. I could go into deeper detail on that, but I will leave that for another post later. Now let’s focus on some stakeholders’ needs.

End users.

End-users want just software meeting their needs. Easy to say, harder to put in practice. For example, considering users looking for a CMS. They can step by cmsmatrix and get a clue by searching a CMS for the many available criteria. Unfortunately there are few similar resources on the net, and Sourceforge is definitely in the position to know which are the more frequent searches. Specific whitepapers to help people to make decisions could be sold for a fee or funded by a sponsor.

Sourceforge top downloads pages could be enriched with rollovers shortly describing the programs, links to pages containing tips&tricks, and a “users who downloaded this program also downloaded” list, as Amazon does.

Q&A like Yahoo answers or Linkedin questions could really help to effectively build the SF.net community. Despite Google answer failed to accomplish the task to create a knowledge market, the idea to make it only for questions about FOSS could worth some speculations.

Peer to peer network users.

In Europe we feel the urgency to take action against the European lobby trying to criminalize P2P usage, and I totally understand this is not Sourceforge’s battle. But I think Sourceforge could find ways to highlight legitimate, professional uses for that technology. Someone from the Sourceforge crew told me that it could be achieve by offering BitTorrent as an alternate download mechanism for SourceForge.net and reporting on Sourceforge editorial sites that Blizzard uses BitTorrent legitimately for World of Warcraft downloads and patches.

Only World of Warcraft reached 10 million users, so educating communities of gamers to open source software usage seems important to me, considering their average age and social network skills.

Next I will cover the enterprise side, either from developers’ and organizations’ points of view.

Technorati Tags: commercial open source, sourceforge, business models, Q&A, market knowledge, yahoo answers, google answer, linkedin questions, world of warcraft, group forming networks, peer to peer

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