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06 May 2010



Excellent post Stephen - I agree with your analysis and also think we've seen some examples of recent start-ups deliberately taking the second approach, having observed that the first approach created too much friction for the previous generation. I'll blog about these when I haven't been up half the night watching the UK election and can actually remember who the examples are :-)

Thanks for the mention BTW.


drew Roberts

Open Core is broken on the face of it:

For the Free Software folks, it isn't Free and that's that.

For the Open Source folks, it is a self contradiction:

1. Open Source results in better code.


2. We give out high quality, limited functionality code libre and gratis.

3. We give out low(er) quality, code with more functionality (which we often call our enterprise version) but it is neither libre or gratis.

So, either I don't believe you that open source methods produce better code and you are in the mix with everyone. Or... I believe you and you are out of the running along with all non-open source (non-Free) solutions as why would I want to run my operations on lower quality, buggy code?

There is money to be made from enterprise / business quality Free Software, and some Free Software is not going to be implemented in some places unless the money *can* be spent in one way or another, but Open Core is a broken thought.

all the best,


James Dixon

Nice post. Similar in many ways to the Beekeeper Model.



Looking at the table of Community vs Customer, the first row has a huge chasm between them filled by those who have not enough time and won't spend any money. I've been involved with monetary test points about this. Your second row (problem solving) is what tips a portion of these people to customer. A lot of people want to be non-paying customers (zero time, zero dollars) because they feel someone else should pay for it or that they are "owed" this software.

I remember way back with SunOS administration when there was a real community -- a cohesive community. It was the newsgroups. It was the authoritive location to ask for help or read through previous discussions. There were SUN employees who regularly and expertly added to the group. This was in addition to the regular paid support that many customers had. Finding this community was easy, clear and fast.

Today there are often numerous forums with few of them able to be completely authoritive for a product. Google and the like can find most of these forums, but can't help you filter out which are a community of fellow users that will be helpful. Most people find it onerously time consuming to do the discovering/search/filtering. The ease and clarity that existed years ago to find a community continues to exist only for a (realtively) small percentage. Finding a way to address this I think would narrow the chasm (above) and, I think, help validate the (open source) community. When it's easier to find the most valid, expert community for a product then a critical mass/population can be reached. Without the critical mass getting reached people who could be part of the community (zero time, zero money at least initially) are lost to the chasm.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there needs to be a Community Center for Open Source and other products. One that people can find like in a city for pool swim times, pottery classes, etc.

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