Open Source Vendors: Resolving the Name Confusion in Favor of Customers

Matthew Aslett few days ago answering a Tarus Balog‘s comment reopened an old issue about what defines an open source vendor.  Savio Rodrigues picked up the ball and Matt Asay joined the football game.

Matthew says that “even if the lines between open source and proprietary continues to blur it – as originally stated by Brian Fitzgerald in his “The Transformation of Open Source Software” - is more important than ever for these 100% open source vendors to define who they are and what they stand for”.

What about customers’ perspectives?

Once upon a time Giampaolo Garzarelli and myself spent time defining corporate, voluntary, and hybrid open source project idealtypes. Classifying production models is not a curiosity, since it affects at large the software life-cycle and in the end the way vendors fulfill customers’ needs.

Community driven open source – or hybrid production model, in my words, can make a difference:

If you don’t have any committers from outside of your company. You probably aren’t community driven.

If you didn’t spend time cleaning up documentation for the community when you opened it up. You probably aren’t community driven.

If your users haven’t helped with the documentation if it is lacking. You probably aren’t community driven.

If you do not have some kind of forums/lists where people help each other out. You probably aren’t community driven.

If you aren’t willing to put in a lot of effort to build your community to get true benefits. You probably aren’t community driven.

Is your open source company different?