Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Open-source !!!! Where's the money?

Open source has plenty of supporters -- among them venture capitalists who view the software as a disruptive technology with huge potential. But that doesn't mean they're about to throw cash at open-source startups as they did at new companies during the dot-com rush.

Venture capitalists have learned some tough lessons from the dot-com meltdown and, not surprisingly, asked some tough questions at an event near Berlin on Tuesday.

Eran Davidson, president and chief executive officer of Hasso Plattner Ventures Management, had five questions, which permeated debate throughout the one-day Open Source Forum in Potsdam, Germany. As Davidson pointed out to the more than 100 people attending the forum, if startups struggle to answer these questions, venture capitalists will struggle to cough up money.

At the top of his list was the question: Can startups design open-source software products for non-IT people to use?

Yes, and they must, according to Don Wight, vice president of worldwide field operations at open-source business intelligence software vendor JasperSoft. "Software design is crucial," he said. "You need to put an easy front-end on your software to make it appealing to normal users, like accountants. You need to make it stick like glue."

Davidson's second question -- Can startups get their intellectual property rights in order? -- drew a quick response from experts in the audience: If they don't, they could face some messy litigation down the road.

"Hire a lawyer early to get the licensing issue right from the very start," warned Rafael Laguna de la Vera, chairman of open-source collaboration provider Open-Xchange.

Till Kreutzer, a lawyer at the Office for Information Law and Expertise who specializes in open-source copyrights and licensing, pointed to a German developer with three patents for open-source code embedded in numerous routing products who has successfully won patent infringement lawsuits in court. This is the type of developer who, if ignored, could trip up a great business model, Kreutzer said.

Speaking about business models, that was Davidson's third question: Can startups show a valid business case?

It's tough when the product is essentially free, acknowledged Wight. "I can't speak for Europe but in Silicon Valley, if you don't have a commercial open-source strategy, you don't have much of a chance with venture capitalists," he said.

Like many open-source startups, JasperSoft offers a "community" product, which is free, and a commercial "pro" offering. "With the community product, we're not only giving something back to the open-source community but also giving potential customers an opportunity to try our software with no strings attached," Wight said. "With the commercial product, we have a dual-license revenue mode."

Davidson's fourth question was marketing driven: Can startups differentiate their products, especially from proprietary software?

Product differentiation is always a challenge but particularly so in the open-source community where most or all of the code is accessible to everyone, according to Wight. "There is always a risk of people seeing what you're doing and copying some of ideas," he said.

That's why many startups choose to combine open-source software with proprietary software, and then carve out their niche, for instance by targeting smaller companies with a less complex and costly product, as JasperSoft is doing with its open-source business intelligence software, Wight said.

But the mix of open-source and in-house proprietary software also raises the issue of how open a company that labels itself open source really is, according to Charles Nicholls, founder and chief executive officer of business intelligence vendor SeeWhy Software. "This is a debate we're having constantly in our company," he said.

The fifth question that Davidson posed -- Can startups keep the open-source spirit alive while striving to make money? -- drew an answer from IBM, one of the world's largest IT companies and also a major contributor to the open-source community.

Money talks, conceded Adam Jollans, open-source software strategy manager at IBM, but the good thing is, not all developers are listening.

"Engineers aren't always after money," Jollans said. "Many of them want peer group recognition, which the open-source community provides. Community recognition is a huge motivating factor; industry won't be able to choke this."

The one-day Open Source Forum was hosted by the Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering in Potsdam, together with IBM and Deutsche Telekom.



Anonymous said...

ed hardy clothing Online Store - We wholesale and retail cheap ed hardy shirts
g including Ed Hardy Men's Clothing, ed hardy womens Clothing,Ed Hardy Kids Clothing, Ed Hardy Sunglasses, Ed Hardy Swimwear and

Anonymous said...

Paypal payment. Free shipping. cheap ugg boots ,UGG Online Store,australian cheap ugg boots ,ugg boots australia,UGG Online Store,black ugg boots,ugg boots on sale,cheap uggs. Very Cheap!Vente en ligne de discount chaussure sport : chaussure puma, chaussure nike, chaussure tn, nike tn,nike requin, puma future cat, nike shox torch, ugg boots et plus.

Anonymous said...

nike max shoes, one of the world's three major brands of Puma shoes, will build its factory in Lanshan county next year, Hunan province. Taiwan Diamond Group of Footwear production chooses its base in Lanshan county, which is one of top 500 companies in the world.mens clothing men's sweate, cheap columbia jackets, lacoste sweater, ralph lauren polo shirts,ski clothing. Free Shipping, PayPal Payment. Enjoy your shopping experience on mensclothingstore.Us

Anonymous said...

A study last yearnike tn, the author in the essay read NIKE , a reporter at the Shanghai headquarters in an interview, nike chaussuressee a pr in high school to read a league plans, employees interviewed told reporters in Beijing's streets, they children to interview, the children said, "truly understand them." tn chaussures These words, if the author touches product function, brand spirit and culture is to become part of the consumer of two basic methods

Anonymous said...

There are ed hardy shirts
,pretty ed hardy shirt for men,

ed hardy womens in the ed hardy online store

designed by ed hardy ,
many cheap ed hardy shirt ,glasses,caps,trouers ed hardy shirts on sale ,

You can go to to have a look ,you may find one of ed hardy clothing fit for you
men's jacketcheap jacketnorth face jacketsghd hair straightenerscheap ghd hair straightenershair straighteners

Anonymous said...

In spite of the fact that many critics comment on ed hardy clothing as nothing but tattoo pattrens, being full of unnecessary and useless things, ed hardy clothes is widely acknowledged that ed hardy shirts draws the most attention of both common young people as well as many Hollywood welcomed stars for its punk rock styles. In fact, in today’s world, many ed hardy t-shirtsdesigns are more or less the same with each othre, and ed hardy mens and ed hardy womens , absolutely, brings a totally new shock in the fashion world for its design being out of ordinary ed hardy sunglasses.

Anonymous said...

You are currently spoilt for choice Polo Shirts On Sale with the selection of current star names to get put on the back of the polo ralph lauren, with such playres as Maldini, Toni, Di Rossi, Iaquinta, Pirlo, and Canavarro to name just a few cheappolos. And three are othre rising stars who might take your fancy burbrery polos, like Rossi, Balotelli, Pazzini and Aquilani. Ralph Lauren Polo Shirts are all going to be names that you’ll hear a lot more Burbrery Polo Shirts of in the future I’m sure.

Anonymous said...

ralph lauren polo shirts
chaussure puma
puma CAT

ed hardy clothing
ed hardy sunglasses
Ugg Boots
hair straighteners

Anonymous said...

I like your blog . They are really great. Ermunterung ++ .
some new style Air shoes is in fashion this year.Do you know Air Shoes is a best . another kinds of nike air rift is better . the Puma basket will make you feel very relaxed when you play basketball.If you want to buy the Cheap puma shoes shoes ,you can buy them online. Very high-caliber and cheap puma shoes as same as you buy from the authorized store..My younger sister's long hair is always chaotic. so i presented a hair straighteners to her for Christmas last year .she were very pleasantly surprised .

Anonymous said...

Do not mean bad.Thank you so much! I just want to show some fashion wedding dress, cheap wedding dresses to all of you. I like wedding dresses, because wedding for a girl, it is the most special day in her life. Do you want to have the beautiful wedding dresses and designer wedding dresses in perfect day?? Here are the most popular discount wedding dresses and lace wedding dresses even plus size wedding dresses for all of you. Also the cheap evening dresses and evening formal dresses are a great choice for you. Let you dream come ture!! When you take part in a party, you can choose party cocktail dresses, also fashion but cheap cocktail dresses and cheap prom dresses here. Besides, the cheap bridesmaid dress and cheap flower girl dresses are also provide to you!

Anonymous said...

nike air max 90
nike air max 95
nike air max tn
nike air rift
nike shox r4
nike air max 360
nike shox nz
puma mens shoes
puma shoes
puma speed
nike shoes
nike air
nike air shoes
puma cat
air max trainers
mens nike air max
nike shoes air max
nike shoes shox
air shoes
nike shoe cart
puma future
cheap puma
sports shoes
nike air rifts
nike air rift trainer
nike air
nike rift
nike rift shoes
cheap nike air rifts
bape shoes
jeans shop
diesel jeans
levis jeans

Anonymous said...

Your article is very good.I like it very much.
Once upon a time, there was a mouse father.He wanted to marry his daughter to the greatest person in the world.But, who was the greatest person in the world?Oh!
puma ferrari shoes
cheap nike shoesThe sun! He must be the greatest person in the world.The mouse father went to talk to the sun."Hello! Mr. Sun.
puma shoes
ferrari shoes
I know you are the greatest person in the world.Would you marry my daughter?""What? I'm not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the cloud.If he comes out, I’ll be covered."
nike shox nz
Ugg Boots
The mouse father went to talk to the cloud. “Hello! Mr. Cloud. I know you are the greatest person in the world. Would you marry my daughter?”
nike 360 air max
nike shox shoes
“What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the wind.If he comes out, I’ll be blown away.”
cheap puma shoes
puma drift cat
The mouse father went to talk to the wind. “Hello! Mr. Wind. I know you are the greatest person in the world.Would you marry my daughter?” “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the wall. If he comes out, I’ll be stopped.”
cheap nike shox
nike air max 360
The mouse father went to talk to the wall. “Hello! Mr. Wall. I know you are the greatest person in the world. Would you marry my daughter?” “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is YOU, the mouse.” “The greatest person in the world is … mouse?” “Yes, the greatest person in the world is mouse. See? If mouse comes out, I’ll be bit!”
nike air max
pumas shoes
The mouse father was very happy. He finally knew mouse was the greatest person in the world. He would marry his daughter to the handsome mouse next door.

Unknown said...

you have a nice site.thanks for sharing this valuable resources. keep it up. you can also earn money from here

Unknown said...

nice post!!
Do you like polo shirts? Where can buy the best quality and fashion cheap polo shirts? you can come to our outlets,we are the one of the most professional winter jackets and polo shirts.You also can buy the most cheap polo shirts wholesale,you order more,you can get more discount!

Unknown said...

The popular comment layout is common, so it is easily recognized when scanning to post a comment. If the comment section is in a different format, then I am going to spend more time trying to decipher what everything means.

part time worker

evision said...