OSS (was Re: Stand Alone Erlang)

Mike Williams <>
Fri Mar 12 12:18:11 CET 2004


In article <>,
  (Peter-Henry Mander) writes:

|> Perhaps I might kick off the issue of OSS on erlang-questions. How does
|> one convince the non-technical bean counters that using and _providing_
|> OSS is of commercial benefit? And that opening source code may generate
|> goodwill (something that SCO Group is suffering a severe lack thereof!)
|> leading to sales.

There is one one issue, MONEY.

You have to convince the "owners" of the code (often, but not always the people
who paid for the development of the code), that it is in their COMMERCIAL
ADVANTAGE to contribute the code to Open Source.

- "Add on" sales of other software for which you can get paid.
   (MySQL is a good example of this).

- "goodwill" and image of a company thus improving the company's
  "brand". This is simply a form of marketting". Any (non bankrupt)
   company knows that "marketting" costs money.

- Service / consulting / support services which you can sell. (Companies like
  Red Hat live from support and services)

- Setting standards. By releasing SW as Open Source you can influence the
  "de facto" industry standard in a direction which is good for your company.
  (SUN have done a lot in this direction - for example the primitives behind NFS).

- Killing the oposition. You can kill a competitor by giving away an open source
  product which does the same as his expesive product. Even if your product
  isn't as good as your competitors product. Why do you think Micro$oft 
  does all it can throw dirt at Linux? Linux is a real threat to them! SUN
  did the same for many years until they realised that "if you can't beat them,
  join them". I am sure that a lot of the companies whi are spending money
  on Linux are doing so simply to try to reduce Micro$ofts power and monopoly

- If you have a legacy product, or a product which isn't bringing in money
  but you still need to support, you might make it Open Source if you think it
  would be interesting to others. In this way you can get the Open Source
  comunity to support it for you free (Open Office and Mozilla maybe are
  examples of this).
 
I am sure there are many more reasons.

/mike

(PS: The intelligent reader can venture a guess as to why Ericsson released
 Erlang/OTP - as I am a "suite" nowadays, I won't tell you :-)

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