OS3G - Open Source, 3rd Generation

A (humble) attempt to publish news from the trenches where Free/Libre/Open-Source Software is brought to the mainstream -- and Francois Letellier's blog, too

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

3G Me Too

Been there, done that. Went to e-business open-source convention. Talked about the third generation of open-source.

First generation was hacker time. Fun, garage and ideal. The eighties. Then came the communities of individuals - second generation: hobby with an attitude. Meritocracy and elitism. Technology driven, with a rationale like "hack first, then hack". SourceForge, FSF, Apache.
Now industry stakeholders give a close look to FLOSS. They start gathering together to find enterprise- and government-friendly governance models, and to develop ecosystems. MMBase, Eclipse, ObjectWeb. No more beard, a suit and tie instead.
Third generation.

Then came the JBoss folks who delivered their presentation and... tadam, surprise! They also had a slide about three generations. I'm not precognizant. I did not do it on purpose (neither did they). Mine was stacked vertically, theirs horizontally. The most suprising was not the fact that JBoss was listed in the third box. The most surprising was not that JBoss was now in the third box after having long been stuck in the "second generation" of open-source (InformationWeek: " This second generation of open-source products is different in many ways from its predecessors"; Fleury in JDJ: "As a company at the forefront of this second generation of open source...").

The most suprising - and interesting - was that their classification of generations was drastically different from mine! In their model, 1G is the early days. 2G is when"archaic" business models - that of Red Hat and other distros to be more specific - appeared. JBoss & MySQL are supposed to belong to a third generation due to their more advanced (whatever it means) business model.

My opinion here is that Red Hat runs a subscription business model, MySQL a dual license model and JBoss a bait & hook strategy. There is definetely a difference, in that the first model can live and thrive on a code base developped collaboratively, whereas the last two require that the company retain some control over some central element (key committers, copyright), thus making collaboration harder. But not impossible.


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