I couldn't agree more with this guy....
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Friday, February 24, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
JBoss business model sucks???
My good friend Bill Dudney, had a few things bothering him concerning all the rumors about Oracle buying JBoss. While I agree with most of what he said, the parts about JBoss's business model are something I just can't agree with. Here's a link to what he had to say followed by my reply.
Here's my reply:
I guess I'm lost on why the JBoss business model is bad! Most open source only makes money by the people contributing to it doing consulting or training gigs. They never develop a brand around that solution space like JBoss did.
JBoss developed that brand, then to further strengthen the brand and the support possibilities for enterprises who wanted to 'one stop shop', they hired the people who contributed most. This gave those people many more possibilities than might be achievable otherwise. This action of hiring the most visible creators is plain simple business sense. Other industries do it all the time when someone comes up with a new way to do some engineering task, discovers a new chemical, creates a new invention, or even explains and talks about a particular topic better than someone else. Some big or small company or investor will come in and partner or buyout completely with the creators/originators. Thus the cycle of capitalism continues.
Now you many not like some of the lurking they did on TheServerSide, etc. and I agree, but they got nailed for that. Extreme marketing if you will. Not different from standard MS, IBM or others FUD tactics. But that does not make the business model bad or all the people who work for JBoss bad.
Even Richard Stallman himself is not against the big companies buying any company we might form and grow to a significant brand. He just wants to make sure that the community and mankind continue to get value from what that company got from the open source arena by mandating that that company (or individual) continue to give back improvements to the software tools themselves. This allows others to potentially build on those tools and possibly build services around them that have been overlooked or passed by, thus not orphaning any software tool or oppertunity itself b/c of some big company controling the full source. His ideas go back to the late 70's early 80's as you probably know already and were shaped by what happened in the Lisp AI lab at MIT and what happened there with Symbolics trying to lock up the intillectual property created by him and others. Symbolics did this by licensing what had formerly been free.
JBoss doesn't lock anyone out. You and I can get in there all day long and use it, modify it, market it ourselves, even form our own company to compete against JBoss Inc. and even if we wanted to hire away the talent from them. But per Stallman's ideas and the ideas of OS, the software and improvements to it are still free to all.
OS isn't about getting rid of big companies who can buy or own the source of the ideas (us humans). It is about letting everyone have access to those ideas and implementations so that we can gain power from them too! The marketing and business that can grow around and build on that are "Capitalism" at its finest. And in the end, the win is bigger! Even if JBoss gets bought, the software is still free and you, I or any other person or business could pick right up where they left off. Having an independent company providing great support for a great tool. Who knows, maybe Oracle or someone else would want to buy that company (us) too....
In the end, JBoss is the only open source app server that the big enterprise customers see as competition to WebSphere and BEA. I see that all the time when working with companies. (Note: Even though I'm a author of a book about JBoss, I don't get to set the server choices of those companies I'm talking about)
The people who took it further, hired the people to give them even more time to contribute and build on that toolset, have further shaped the industry, pushed SUN, IBM, MS and others to take OS more seriously and given us as developers a bigger idea of what is possible.
Should we be mad and disparage them because they took the ideas of capitalism and applied them to something free....!!! I think not! JBoss still continues to give back. The developers of the tools incorperated into JBoss still give back.... Maybe JBoss didn't hire everyone who contributed... but so what.... they hired some! Maybe those who contributed most, I don't know, but some people are getting the chance to do what they love full time and potentially make a lot of money for it.
In the end if you are upset about giving software away and seeing someone else figure out how to make more money off of it than you did, then you've missed out on what Stallman and others have been preaching.
Open Source is not Utopia! Open Source is not Communism for software either. It is the best of the American dream, the Golden Rule and other such ideas at multiple levels. We all get to see the shared output, contribute, receive and have the opportunities to build on that to achieve our dreams!
It's what we do with the tools and opportunities to reach those dreams that counts! JBoss just happens to be a group of people who made that dream come true with some software that is free.... Bad? I think not....
3 Cheers for Capitalism....