Thursday, March 23, 2006

OpenSource 2.0 -- Monetizing success

Many people think about OpenSource and where it goes and so do I. One comment stroke me in particular at one of the recent conferences where somebody stated that OpenSource is good for lot of things but there is no TRUE innovation. “OpenSource projects today are pretty much improving what others did before – but there is neither a new technology, no new methodology and no truly new functionality”.

Past 10 years OpenSource
In the past 10 years OpenSource has come a loooooong way. But still people are not sure about the relevance for the business and how opensource engagements can fuel the industry other than how it does today. The fundamental issue - it seams - is the reward system. Clearly it is rewarding to see how software evolves. There is a reward for contributing by using code others contributed and there is a reward by recognizing increase in quality through the respective contribution of all kinds of expertise. But like one developer stated "I love it but it doesn't feed my kids".

OpenSource and SaaS
With Software as a Service a new question pops: How do you deal with OpenSource distribution license when there is nothing to distribute - other than the service over the net? Will OpenSource dry out when no code is distributed any more?

Rewarding Contribution
Let me contract the above issues all together and think:
-- How about bringing opensource developer together to contribute to innovative and new projects that will be delivered over the net, regardless of the fact that there is only one instance of the code?
-- How about a reward system that includes some monetary opportunity by incorporating the contributors into the success?
-- How about creating an OpenSource Contributor Option Plan that gives out shares of the respective company for those contributors who truly contributed to the success of that company?
This is not a cash reward like with an employee but rewarding contribution to innovation. Would’nt that be one further step towards individuality where at some point in time a company is really a “company of people” with their respective contributors participation in the success – still maintaining the fundamental concept of capitalism? I will work on that idea further and I am really interested to know what you and others think. Feel free to comment and let me know.

1 comment:

Sridhar said...

Axel,

All good ideas. I resonate most with the idea of reward sharing. You asked for more thoughts on open source. We have a paper on the topic at http://www.pacifica-group.com/2005/12/open_source_unleveling_the_pla_1.php

Sridhar

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