Open Source Communities: Control & Community Report (The 451 Group)

The 451 Group kindly provided me with a copy of their latest report “Control & Community“, enlisting facts, figures and findings around open source communities and how to interact with them.

Having been writing often recently about the OpenOffice.org fork, I found interesting to see my statements around copyright ownership management confirmed by the report.

Copyright Ownership - Community and Control Report (The 451 Group)

Forty-seven percent of respondents expressed a preference for copyright owned by a foundation, compared to just 8% for copyright ownership distributed across the various contributors, while 6% expressed a preference for copyright owned by a single vendor [..].

The biggest surprise in these results is the low preference for distributed ownership, since that is the model used for many of the most succesful open source projects, including the Linux kernel.

Respondents don’t like copyright ownership distributed across the various contributors, or at least they like it no more than copyright owned by a single vendor. Definitely food for thoughts for the TDF Steering Committee.

Getting back to the report –  a must read for every vendor or organization willing to make consciuos decisions around its open source strategies –  I found very informative the final table, reporting whether each strategy category (license, development model, copyright, product licensing and main revenue generator) is overutilized or underutilized by vendors with respect to its user-friendliness rating.

Among many take aways, I found a confirmation of previous SOS Open Source findings about the correlation between (strong) copyleft licenses and control in vendor-led projects. Among other interesting findings, the fact that projects backed by VCs tend to use Open Core more, and the emergence of new patterns of behaviour in the context of “Value-Added subscription” revenue generator.

Read also Ian Skerrett‘s “The Changing Nature of Open Source Companies“.

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