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What Happens When the Money Comes?

Was on a panel at OSCON today along with Danese Cooper (moderating), Mitchell Baker, Geir Magnusson, Tim O'Reilly, and Susan Wu.
This year has seen several high-profile acquisitions of FOSS codebases involving some very wealthy companies, including IBM (Gluecode), Oracle (Zend & SleepyCat), and RedHat (JBoss), and of course Web 2.0 companies bought FOSS too, such as SixApart (LiveJournal) and Yahoo! (Flickr, del.icio.us). At the same time some of the largest FOSS communities, including Kernel.org, Apache, and Mozilla, have found themselves contemplating changes in response to the pressures of success. Can open source be conquered by buy-out? What does it mean to buy a FOSS community? How do we keep the "free" and "open" in FOSS?

Junior summarized a lot of it, including a rough quote from me when Danese asked me what I think Open Source hackers should do after being acquired.  I've modified the quote a little below to more represent what I said:
Don't lose the hacker mentality.  Continue doing cool stuff, and continue innovating.  Don't give up, if you really believe you need to represent something, take the chances and take the risk.  Preserve the ideals.  It's not just about cultures meshing, it's about the ideals too.  If you don't represent your ideals in the corporate culture, you're doing a disservice to the Open Source movement and the community you have developed.
My basic point was that no matter if the cultures match perfectly in an acquisition, it has to be more than that in order for it to truly be a successful acquisition.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2007 11:56 am (UTC)
Money can’t buy the most important things in life.
Best things in Life are free

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )