Open Source Strategies

A blog about open source software and business models, enterprise software, and the opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM Suite.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Grand Experiment

A few weeks ago, someone asked me what I did. I was at a loss for words (yes, it happens to me too.)

What do I do?

Why am I starting a company called Open Source Strategies??

Later, I realized why I was at a loss: Unlike most of my peers, I'm not betting on a particular technology. Instead, I'm conducting an experiment, which comes down to this:

Can we make software better with open source processes?

More specifically:

Can we develop better software?
  • Would collaboration allow us to get better ideas?
  • Is remote, asynchronous development more efficient?
  • Can a collaborative environment attract better developers? (In other words, are there smart people working outside your company?)
  • Can peer review help us write higher quality software, with more flexibility and fewer defects?
Can we build better software businesses?

Could software vendors:
  • Reduce the cost of developing software by using existing open source code?
  • Avoid wasteful R&D investments with a tighter vendor-user relationship?
  • Lower distribution costs achieved through an open source model?
  • Move to a demand-driven business model? (In other words, what we've been telling those other industries to do.)
Can we meet the needs of users better?

Would users benefit from:
  • access to source code?
  • greater flexbility in customization?
  • taking control of support/maintenance decisions?
Collaboration is at the heart of open source software. It changes the way software is created and brings together users and developers across traditional boundaries. What I'm trying to figure out is:

Can a knowledge intensive field like software benefit from collaboration?

I do not believe we can replace the commercial software business model with an open source one. Rather, I wonder if we can bring together the best of both worlds--the innovation, creativity, and efficiency of the open source model and the resources and organization of the commercial one.

Marketing gurus say everybody needs a mission statement. Here's mine:
Making Software Better

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