Behavior, Content, Money – 3 Things you should never give away for free!!!

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The biggest Open Source Software acquisitions ever

Posted by bryan on January 26, 2014 in E-Business with 1 Comment

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Logo Open Source Initiative

Logo Open Source Initiative (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Open Source Software (and more recently, even Open Source Hardware) have become not just rising trends but the de fact standard for true technology innovation. Open Source accelarates innovation due to the way it fosters a creative, cooperative environment and is usually (especially when compared to traditional IT) much more inclusive of ideas from people of all types, genders, races, nationalities, income brackets, etc.

When it comes to Open Source, the best ideas and most efficient solutions are typically those which get adopted. Contrast this to the way things work in Enterprise where a specific managerial opinion or corporate agendas often trump efficiency or quality of solution, and you can see why Open Source can offer many benefits to developers (especially independent developers, consultants or those in Enterprise who are luck enough to have some degree of autonomy). Whereas flashiness, certifications or accreditation (i.e. “reputation” of the company/technology being proposed to work with) can be most important in Enterprise; the ease-of-use and low cost for implementation/maintenance become top priority for Open Source. In addition, every commit, push/pull or merge is scrutinized for adhering to the very principles of Open Source; more than can be said in Enterprise where Code Review process may be extremely fickle, inconsistent or non-existent.

That said, Open Source is also quickly becoming big business. Major Enterprises from Fortune500 companies all the way to Government organizations are quickly adopting, utilizing and/or acquiring open source for their own business purposes. We’ve seen a particular heat-up in flat out acquisitions of Open Source companies, which presents some key questions, such as:

  • What happens to the community built around the project, library, or tool? Shouldn’t it be protected from being absolved and having blogs, forums, FAQs, docs, code repositories, and official website URLs taken down so they can live on somehow?
  • How about the community members who’ve contributed to the technology? Don’t they deserve a cut of the sales that the parent organization previously presiding over the open source software may have enjoyed in the acquisition?
  • When do current users of the software need to be legally given notice that the software will be commercialized and what their options are for continuing to use the software? Should they be “grandfathered-in” for continued access in some cases? Why not all cases?
  • Should there not be a requirement to maintain & support the last version before acquisition in the very least?

Here’s a quick summary table showing the top 20 of the biggest Open Source technology acquisitions of all-time (to date):

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BC$ = Behavior, Content, Money

The goal of the BC$ project is to raise awareness and make changes with respect to the three pillars of information freedom - Behavior (pursuit of interests and passions), Content (sharing/exchanging ideas in various formats), Money (fairness and accessibility) - bringing to light the fact that:

1. We regularly hand over our browser histories, search histories and daily online activities to companies that want our money, or, to benefit from our use of their services with lucrative ad deals or sales of personal information.

2. We create and/or consume interesting content on their services, but we aren't adequately rewarded for our creative efforts or loyalty.

3. We pay money to be connected online (and possibly also over mobile), yet we lose both time and money by allowing companies to market to us with unsolicited advertisements, irrelevant product offers and unfairly structured service pricing plans.

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