Open Source & Multi-sided Markets


Published on

Speech given at the second edition of Innovators Barcamp , an unconference dedicated to innovation in Italian Public Administrations.

Published in: Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Exploit the real value of open source software demands the creation of surrounding open source communities. Vendor-led open source communities starve for diversity, multi-sided markets maybe an answer.
  • Roberto is a computer industry insider of 17+ years standing. Up until 1994 Roberto had never heard of Linux, until he chanced to lead a group of geeks in starting up a mobile ISP with just a bunch of old PCs. Since then Roberto has worked in such hands-on roles as programmer and systems analyst, eventually founding an open source firm in 2001, and an open source consortium in 2004. Roberto has taken an active interest in several free/open source software organizations. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of SourceForge and Enterpise Open Source directory, and acts as the Institutional Relationship Manager for the Italian Association. Since 2003 Roberto has researched the economics of OSS, collaborating with universities and EC funded research projects. Roberto is also a technical writer for IT and computer-related magazines. He writes almost daily at his commercial open source blog:
  • The National Center for ICT in tne Public sector (formerly CNIPA, now DigitPA) for some years has tendered for reusable ICT solutions. Today only 18 applications are enlisted in the catalog of reusable applications, a clear sign that indicates a flaw in the approach.
  • I couldn't have said it better: Italian laws in favor of software reuse are too comples and the result is that the actual barrier precents software solutions to be reused.
  • The European open source observatory is also a repository of programs for public administrations, but vertical needs and language barriers make hard to reuse it too. Worse to say, almost none of them has a surrounding community,
  • Two- and multi-sided markets are markets in which firms need to get two or more distinct groups of customers who value each other's participation on board the same platform in order to generate any economic value. In traditional one-sided markets, firms serve different types of customers, but they lack the interdependency (source: )
  • Ebay is a classical example of bilateral market, brining under the same umbrella buyers and sellers.
  • Red hat too is a good example of a multi-sided market serving users, customers and not only.
  • CentOS, the Linux distribution free rebuild of source packages from Red Hat, mainly changes packages to remove upstream vendor branding and artwork. At some extent it maybe considered just another customer segmented served (indirectly) from Red Hat.
  • Mårten once said that his customers are willing to pay because they're saving time, mentioning also his early community. “Free users” are important, paying customers follow the lead early adopters establish.
  • Open source plumbing matters.
  • There is a general lack of knowledge about open source software packages, but for few dozen of products, either because of their long history or because created by open source vendors backed by VCs.
  • SourceForge Italian Top downloads (April 2009) From here we might hardly drive any conclusion about which open source plumbing tools an organization may need in its tool box.
  • Twitter recently made public its open source love, disclosing contributions to 29 different projects and making names of all their contributors. Looking at the Twitter open source directory and reading the twitter engineering blog is clear that they invest time and effort to qualify, select and write open source software. As a matter of fact most of those projects are almost unknown with very few exceptions, are not commercially backed by vendors but yet are able to provide great value to Twitter and others.
  • SOS Open Source is an automated methodology to qualify and select open source software. SOS Open Source, returning objective scores for selected open source projects, helps to choose the most appropriate candidate in terms of project's durability, support availability and promise of evolution.
  • For more information see:
  • Bob Young, Ceo and formerly Red Hat Ceo, said it clearly: communities are made by people who shares an interest, and nothing more. Group Forming Networks like internet are of great importance to exploit open source value. Donald Reed explained how network communities of value make optional transactions among peers and affiliation a reality. Open source vendors start by making open source communities tools available to distribute software. This is the very first stage of vendor-led open source communities, but the ultimate goal is to bring in users and customers and move them to into legitimate peripheral participation.
  • While all participants share a common interest – e.g. they care about an open source project – they don't specifically need to be programmers or designers. Users, customers, other vendors or authors all have different reasons to join, and probably different things to share.
  • Think of the Ubuntu community, and how people support it.
  • Open Source & Multi-sided Markets

    1. 1. Open Source Reuse in Public Administrations: multi-sided markets & reusable OS technologies Roberto Galoppini Innovators Barcamp 2010 Rome, 17 May
    2. 2. 2001: Startup 1994: Slackware 0.94 2002: 2004: Consorzio 2005: OS Strategy 2009: ODF Plugfest 2010: SOS Open Source
    3. 4. “ I failed to make the chess team because of my height.”
    4. 10. “ The early community is willing to trade time to save money; the late community is willing to trade money to save time. My customer is in the late community.”
    5. 13. Top Downloads (Italy)
    6. 17. A community is just a group of people that share a common interest — they don’t have to like each other.”
    7. 20. Roberto Galoppini SOS Open Source: email: roberto.galoppini <at>