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  • Roberto Galoppini 10:00 am on October 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: open source assessment, open source business, , Storj   

    FileZilla Storj Labs Collaboration—4 Years later 

    Four years ago I was head-down looking for a potential partner for FileZilla. We wanted to empower our users and bring more value to all our stakeholders. Given FileZilla’s unmatched ability to deliver file transfer capabilities, it was natural to look into the cloud storage space.

    As FileZilla is distributed under a Free and Open Source license, it was natural to want to partner with a like-minded company or organization.

    Much of my previous experience at the time was helping companies and organizations evaluate Open Source projects’ sustainability. So all I did was to analyse all the Open Source initiatives focusing on the cloud.

    The candidates we discovered were limited to Filecoin, MaidSafe, Sia and Storj Labs. As you know, we decided to bet on the latter, despite the fact they were less funded than others. As explained in a previous post, the reason was simply they were a more mature Open Source project, and as such, it was well positioned to become the first Distributed Cloud Storage platform to leverage blockchain technology and deliver enterprise-grade service level agreements.

    Did we do our homework right?

    Let’s have a deeper look at Storj’s rivals. Filecoin ran an amazing ICO, and from a financial point of view they look like a great partner. On a more technical note, Filecoin went live just a few days ago, though.

    MaidSafe isn’t in a better spot. Alphas got named fleming and baby fleming, yet despite the efforts and the advancements they are still far from realizing their promises.

    Last but not least Sia, later renamed Skynet, is finally making interesting progress, like their recently launched SkyDB, and the company behind it (Nebolous) six years later is getting investors’ attention.

    Years later it’s clear we made the right choice by sticking with the less-funded, technically advanced Storj Labs. By doing so we’ve been able to enable developers beta testing Storj since July 2017, and we never stopped updating the FileZilla-Storj integration. Eventually this summer we moved to a ready-for-prime-time phase releasing Tardigrade.

    The FileZilla/Storj collaboration has been a win-win. Storj has been able to tap into our huge user base, while the FileZilla project has secured the necessary funds to keep investing in developing its client and server.

    The FileZilla project and Storj Labs utilized each other’s audiences for a profit, empowering users with easy access to a secure distributed cloud. All stakeholders got their due share of value added, in a positive-sum game.

    And we are still at the very beginning of all this, stay tuned for upcoming features unveiling the potential of our partnership by making super easy to share files confidentially with your peers!

  • Roberto Galoppini 8:38 pm on October 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    EU-funded Projects and Open Source 

    7th Framework Program logoThe upcoming European Commission Future Networks concertation meeting next week will host an “Open source & Research” panel (agenda), and I’m honoured to have been invited to join it.

    Having been writing about EU-funded open source research for a while now – sometimes interacting with running projects, other times helping them to be more visible, but also criticizing some for not being effective or to produce poor deliverables – I am very much willing to address the sustainability aspects of open source projects and the commercial viability of open source from framework programme projects.

    (More …)

    • Miguel Ponce de Leon 11:24 pm on January 30, 2011 Permalink


      I must say it was great the way you preemptively published this post before the actual event. I managed to show it during the meeting, and now many months later I’ve completed a short review post on the event.


      Thanks again for you input on this.


    • Andrei 9:35 am on July 29, 2011 Permalink

      Hi Roberto.

      I have a question for you. Are they allowed to write in a tender dossier in an EU funded project that the software “MUST NOT be made available by the manufacturer under free software license – GPL or similar”. Is this legal?



    • Roberto Galoppini 7:08 pm on July 31, 2011 Permalink

      Dear Andrei,

      let me answer you bringing some other related issues on the table.

      Probably you know that EU projects must have a Consortium Agreement in place, and such consortium agreement regards the internal organisation of the consortium (included IPR) and it doesn’t involve the European Commission.

      Now, there are some templates for these Consortium Agreements, a well-known one is the one by EICTA (.doc document). You might want to take note of section, especially the excerpts below.

      (i) The Parties acknowledge that the use within the Project of Software that is “open source” (as defined at http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php), and/or the release of Foreground upon licence terms associated with such Software, may have benefits for the conduct of the Project and promote the Use and dissemination of the resulting Foreground. However, they also recognise that certain of such licence terms (namely Controlled Licence Terms) may restrict the options that are available for Use and dissemination of the resulting Foreground, and accordingly they wish to regulate, in accordance with this Section the use of Controlled Licence Terms in relation to the Project and Use and dissemination of the results thereof.

      (ii) Without limiting the scope of this Section, the Parties acknowledge that the use in the Project or introduction into the Project of Background, Sideground or other Work held by a Party pursuant to Controlled Licence Terms [read “open source”, as explained in (i)] may impair or otherwise affect the other Parties’ utilisation or Use of or Access Rights to Background, Sideground, Foreground or other Work. Each Party shall therefore abstain from using in the Project or introducing into the Project any Background, Sideground or other Work in a manner or upon terms that would or might result in a requirement that all or some of the Foreground, Sideground, Background or any other Work must, either generally or under certain circumstances, be licenced under Controlled Licence Terms, unless all Parties have unanimously approved in writing such use or introduction.

      (iii) Following the signature of this CA, any Party that is seeking such approval shall provide the other Parties with a written request for approval (“Request”) containing sufficient information, substantially in the format set out in Annex 5 hereto, to enable each of them to assess whether the introduction or use of the Background, Sideground, Foreground or other Work in question, upon the Controlled Licence Terms that are applicable to it, would or might result in any requirement referred to in paragraph (ii) above. Each Party shall inform the Co-ordinator in writing within 60 days from receipt of the Request whether or not it approves the use or introduction for which approval is requested in the Request. Any Party that fails to respond to a Request within the above period shall be notified by the Co-ordinator that it has a further 7 days to respond and in the absense of a response from such Party within such further period it shall be deemed to have approved the Request. As soon as possible after the lapse of such 60 day period (and any further periods as above), the Co-ordinator shall inform all Parties in writing whether or not such use or introduction has been unanimously approved. However, no approval of any Request shall constitute an agreement pursuant to paragraph (b) below that any Foreground may be sub-licensed on Controlled Licence Terms.

      As you can see, unless projects members don’t unanimously agree about the use of an open source licenses, it can be cumbersome at best to decide it at a later stage, and this is definitely no good in my opinion. Templates should be more favorable towards the creation, the use (and therefore re-use) of open source deliverables, because is us paying for such research projects.

      So said, I don’t think the EU is imposing any restriction in EU FP7 calls or similar tenders, but I guess in some special cases it might legally occur for a reason (e.g. a tender may require some sort of integration with a proprietary product posing specific limitations towards some open source licenses).

      Hope it helps.

  • Roberto Galoppini 1:48 pm on October 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MathieuPoujol, , open source business, , ,   

    Notes from the Open Source Analysts Summit 2010 

    Having had the chance to chair the Open Source Analysts session at the Open World Forum I want to share here some takeaways. Matthew Aslett, senior analyst at the 451 group, opened the session anticipating some results from the upcoming revision of the “Open Source is NOT a business model” report, due between the end of October and the beginning of November. (More …)

  • Roberto Galoppini 4:02 pm on July 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , open source business, , StephenOGrady   

    Open Core is not a Business Model 

    Apple core duoOpen Core is the New Dual Licensing Model” is the last of a chain of interesting posts against or in favor of open core, coming from different realm of experience: the analyst guy Stephen O’Grady, the free software evangelist Simon Phipps, the hacker Brian Aker and last but not least the entrepreneur MÃ¥rten Mickos.

    Let’s dig now deeper into what is open core to business, and why it is not a business model. (More …)

    • Stefano Maffulli 10:28 pm on July 3, 2010 Permalink

      Funambol is not Open Core as many people intend it. The whole open source package is feature complete and useful in enterprise as is, while only the portal (and some API that are used by it) of Funambol Carrier Edition is not open source. Funny enough, none of the customers have bought it either (see the list http://www.funambol.com/solutions/mobilesyncservices.php).

  • Roberto Galoppini 3:38 pm on September 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: open source business, , ,   

    Effective Commercial Open Source Strategies Reloaded 

    Last week I held the “Building an Effective Commercial Open Source Strategy” workshop at OSiM, the definitive industry event on Open Source in Mobile.

    Stephen Walli and I this year worked out a richer workshop outline, aimed at covering open source software business and community issues, as well as IPR issues.

    (More …)

  • Roberto Galoppini 4:24 pm on August 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , David Nüscheler, DavidWheeler, DirkRiehle, EricBarroca, open source business, StephaneCroisier   

    All Open Source Software is Commercial 

    Eric Barroca after reading Dirk Riehle‘s slides about “The Commercial Open Source Business Model” wrote an inspiring blog post, receiving a number of interesting feedback from the business open source folk.

    Let me start by recommending Dirk’s presentation, it really worths reading, but beware of his definition of  “commercial open source”:

    Commercial open source software projects are open source software projects that are owned by a single firm that derives a direct and significant revenue stream from the software.

    (More …)

    • Dirk Riehle 4:38 pm on August 21, 2009 Permalink

      Thanks for continuing the discussion! Just a short note on the term “commercial open source”. As far as I understand, it was coined by SugarCRM to distinguish Sugar from say GIMP or other open source software that had no primary profit motive in mind.

      I’m actually not saying that the only commercial open source out there follows the single-vendor open source model. Acquia is a good example of a commercial company that is based on community software, so is TWiki. RedHat is commercial for sure too.

      Because of this possible confusion that you are also pointing out, I have been moving away from “commercial open source” to “single-vendor open source”. From today’s perspective, SugarCRM overreached when coining this term.

    • jrep 5:14 pm on August 21, 2009 Permalink

      Including multiply-sponsored projects in “commercial open source” is a good thing, I won’t argue with you there. But I’m still not convinced that “all” open-source work is “commercial.” There are loads of projects on Tigris.Org, SourceForge.Net, github, and all the other community sites that have no sponsorship at all.

    • Roberto Galoppini 8:36 pm on August 21, 2009 Permalink

      @Dirk thank you to rejoin this conversation!

      I believe you’re right, SugarCRM was probably at the forefront with naming it commercial open source, but I am not sure they want to exclude open source vendors like Acquia or Sonatype.

      I appreciate your decision to move away from “commercial open source” to “single-vendor open source”, really.

      @jrep I am following the definition of commercial reported by David Wheeler in his paper:

      Commercial means either (a) “oriented to profit-making”, or more generally (b) “of, pertaining to, or suitable for commerce”, where commerce means “intercourse, dealings, the buying and selling of commodities, or trade” So we’re talking about something (a) oriented toward profit, or at least (b) something pertaining to public trade or dealings.

      I must agree with David saying that “when we include the second meaning (which some people forget), nearly all FLOSS programs are commercial”.

    • Alain 3:37 pm on August 22, 2009 Permalink


      At least the open source supporters are doing their coming out (thanks to Eric!)

      Your analysis is perfectly correct (as well as Dirk’s one), but I’d like to moderate it on one single point :
      I think that there is some open source initiatives that are not commercials!
      Some open source initiatives, driven by (non profit) foundations (FSF, Mozilla, Apache…), are mainly motivated by altruism, openness and sharing (as well as by the ego of some of the contributors). Indeed, within thoose foundations, they are not equal : some are using licenses (GPL to name it) with very strong constraints about commercial use : the code developed from a GPL-licensed source code must be given back to the community with the same license!!

      This is really the original (and in some way utopian) vision of Richard Stallman.

      This is why I mostly agree with you. I even think that everything else is commercial (and marketing tactic)….

      By the way, I’ve just read an awesome post from Vishal Vasu (http://www.vishalvasu.com/general/open-source-versus-open-standards/) that reminds us (from a user perspective) that, what is important, is that your software needs to support (useful) open standards!


    • Roberto Galoppini 3:32 pm on August 23, 2009 Permalink

      Hi Alain,

      I know you are right saying that some – maybe even many – open source initiatives are mainly motivated by altruism, openness and sharing. Those motivations do not prevent commercial activities around those projects.

      Via twitter I was pointing you to Mitchell’s blog post about Mozilla’s sustainability (courtesy of the WayBack machine) because it is a great example of the so-called second meaning of “commercial” (see my previous comment).

      About GPL strictness I’m not so sure, not in a web world at least, but I didn’t cover (yet) licensing and open source commerce.

      Last but not least, I totally agree with you and Vishal, I am struggling to make open standards compliance more relevant here in Europe, the next ODF Plugfest will be a step in this direction.

    • Juju 5:40 pm on January 4, 2010 Permalink

      I found an interesting appliance factory that makes an open source project as simple as an iphone application and automatically packages it as a business ready appliance.

      See http://www.usharesoft.com

    • Roberto Galoppini 7:29 pm on April 11, 2010 Permalink

      Eric as anticipated I wrote an entry about UShareSoft.

  • Roberto Galoppini 3:39 pm on June 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FabienPinckaers, Jahia, , open source business, , , , StephaneCroisiers, WCM   

    Open Source Business Strategy: OpenERP and Long Term Sustainability 

    Matt Asay says that creating an open-source software able to attract significant outside development contributions is difficult, yet important. Quid pro quo paradigms, as Stephane Croisier calls them, can foster more sustainable open source communities. Both Jahia and OpenERP found their way to foster external participations.

    (More …)

  • Roberto Galoppini 8:58 pm on April 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: monitoring, open source business, solarwinds   

    Open Source Monitoring: GroundWork on Sale? Not Really 

    GroundWork, the provider of the open source based network management software, today announced the availability of GroundWork Monitor Starter Edition, designed for small deployments up to 250 monitored devices.

    David Dennis, senior director of product marketing at Groundwork, in March told me that GroundWork  “productized” a cheaper ‘stealth’ product that was sold by their partners only, prior to this launch. The Starter Edition has now gained an official state, apparently answering to community edition users’ needs.

    Is open source on sale? is Groundwork trying to upsell its community?

    (More …)

    • David Dennis 10:01 pm on April 30, 2009 Permalink

      Hi Roberto,

      Thanks for the write-up. As usual, you raise interesting ‘big picture’ questions.

      One small point of clarification: Starter Edition and Professional are completely identical from a feature set point of view (including basic auto discovery), the only differences being in the areas of number of devices, support mechanism, and automatic upgrade assurance to future versions. So while they completely overlap from a feature point of view, they do not overlap from a target market perspective.

      One other additional note: Starter Edition users can receive credit for their purchase should they choose to upgrade to 6.0 Enterprise when it is released.

      From a bigger point of view:

      The question we had when we made Starter Edition was ‘What changes can we make to an enterprise product to make it practical to sell at a lower price point?’

      Interestingly, in this case the answer had nothing to do with the code; the code is the same as GroundWork Monitor 5.3. Actually, keeping the code the same as Professional also helps keep the costs low.

      The areas where we removed costs were:

      1. How it is sold, selling it online only.
      2. How it is supported, also online only.
      3. How big the deployment can be, as this also affects the support costs.


    • Roberto Galoppini 5:14 am on May 1, 2009 Permalink

      Hi David,

      you right stressing the importance of on line (sales, support), I might add also that your survey make clear that you are not reducing business opportunities for your partners. Partners definitely strive for bigger deployments, indeed.

      Looking forward to see how will look like the Community edition once 6.0 is out. Selling info-products might really be rewarding, I believe.

    • Frank 4:01 am on August 17, 2010 Permalink

      Let us not forget when most thing are given out for free or there is a “starters edition” 99% of the time there is always an upsell.

  • Roberto Galoppini 2:04 pm on April 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: core competencies, , , , open source business, , , value proposition   

    Open Source Business Strategy: About the Open Source Whole Product Concept 

    James Dixon keeps updating his “Beekeeper model“, analyzing and discussing open source business strategies, now giving a closer view at the importance of the productization process.

    Commercial open source, as James states, exists just to deliver software as whole product: an out-of-the-box, easy-to-consume, packaged-and-delivered, risk-free solution.

    Learning to walk on the tight-rope
    Italian whole organic product, by fensterbme

    (More …)

    • Tarus Balog 2:28 pm on April 24, 2009 Permalink

      I’m a bit lost here. Don’t commercial software companies exist by keeping their code “secret”? What’s open source about a company whose business strategy is based on secret code?

      In the examples you give, they are just commercial software companies using a small open source piece as a free API. They use the term “open source” to market themselves, nothing more.

    • Glyn Moody 4:32 pm on April 24, 2009 Permalink

      I do worry this is all getting out of hand, what with “core” and “beekeeper” and who knows what. Do we really need this level of theorising?

    • p-brane 4:32 pm on April 24, 2009 Permalink

      I would like to encourage you to find another term since the set of ordered letters p-r-o-d-u-c-t-i-z-a-t-i-o-n does not spell an actual word. Something is or is not a product. The act of taking raw materials and through some process that results in a product can be called: manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, building, etc. As a product manager, I’ve grown to really loathe the overuse of this non-word.

    • Roberto Galoppini 6:39 pm on April 24, 2009 Permalink

      Hi Taurus, nice to hear back from you. Funambol is a good example of an open core giving away a full-functioning piece of (open source) code, yet offering to a different target proprietary add-ons. I have been talking about how they segment their customer/user base few times, addressing only the top of the ‘pyramid’, have a look at it.

      Ciao Glyn, I agree with you that theories and definitions are useful only if we resolve name confusion in favor of customers. Today’s blog post was aimed at starting a conversation around the whole product concept, though.

      Hi p-brane, an open source project itself doesn’t make a ‘product’, hence the need to describe the process to create around it all complements needed to make a ‘product’. I will think about use a different term from the one picked by James.

    • David Dennis 3:37 am on April 25, 2009 Permalink

      Hi Roberto,

      I tend to agree with Glyn that would could be rapidly approaching taxonomy overload, if we haven’t reached it already. I recall saying something similar last time we met in San Francisco.

      Nonetheless, after reading James’ Bees & Trees, I couldn’t help adding another type of bee-orientied classification.

      I called it The Open Source Honey Blender:


    • Roberto Galoppini 10:23 am on April 25, 2009 Permalink

      Hi David,

      actually I think your open source honey blender adds some salt to the discussion. So said, I agree that taxonomies are of little help for users and customers, but can help to drive interesting discussion among open source vendors, though.

      James putting VCs into the equation, as I originally suggested, brought on the table aspects that do matter for ens users as well: sustainability is key for everybody.

    • online dating victims 4:46 pm on March 9, 2012 Permalink

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  • Roberto Galoppini 11:41 am on April 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beekeeper, , , , open source business, ,   

    Open Source Business Strategy: Feedback on the Beekeeper Model Revisited 

    James DixonPentaho Chief Technology Officer – about two years ago wrote the “Beekeeper model“, telling the word about how open source firms writing the majority of the code make business.

    Now James released the first draft of the new version asking for comments, and I am glad to give him some feedback again.

    (More …)

    • James Dixon 2:39 pm on April 11, 2009 Permalink

      These are very good points Roberto, I’ll try to incorporate them into draft 2.



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