Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Open Source Software Businesses

Following on from my last post, that was motivated by this discussion on TSS. In answer to the question. What motivates Gavin King when he is selling Seam? Well after some mis-communication, Bill Burke of JBoss was very honest about this. Jboss is a Software Business, they make their money mostly through support subscriptions. So JBoss sell support licenses for a Software Product, The JBoss Application Server. This is the business that Red Hat bought.

So is there anything wrong with this? Well no if you're open and transparent about it. I definitely do not work for free, and as Bill rightly points out, much of what JBoss as achieved in the open source arena would not have been possible if they hadn't grown the business. Also, one size doesn't fit all, so although J2EE5 isn't the simplest way to build a web application, as some of the comments to my last post rightly point out, in some cases J2EE5 is a good option.

So where does that leave us? Well I still feel that describing JBoss as "community driven" like they do on their website isn't completely "accurate" :^). JBoss like any other business will do what it sees to be in it's own interest. So putting back on my cynical hat. Gavin Kings motivation when selling Seam? Create an opportunity to sell more JBoss Subscriptions perhaps?

Again, fine - but does this qualify him as a "community leader"? In my opinion no.

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