Free Software in the Enterprise: from Use to Community Mambership


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Free Software in the Enterprise: from Use to Community Mambership

  1. 1. Free Software Adoption in the Enterprise <ul><ul><li>from use to community membership </li></ul></ul>Josef Assad [email_address]
  2. 2. open source has failed
  3. 3. open source has failed so far.
  4. 4. open source is now irrevocably equivalent with “gratis” or “extremely cheap”
  5. 5. from LUGs to Rube Goldberg machines <ul><li>The abstract character of free software is changing </li></ul><ul><li>The LUG fades </li></ul><ul><li>Corporations dump leviathan codebases on the free software ecosystem </li></ul><ul><li>Asymmetric business commitment to free software </li></ul>
  6. 6. ur doing it rong!
  7. 7. business technology providers: delivering packages instead of sovereignty <ul><li>Open source businesses are happy to pass on the cost advantages but not the sovereignty </li></ul><ul><li>They don't have to, but is that our message? </li></ul><ul><li>Well maybe they don't want the extra revenue streams. </li></ul><ul><li>Remind me, why was vendor lock-in bad? Oh, right, because it disenfranchised my company. </li></ul>
  8. 8. business technology providers: competing on price <ul><li>When the software is free as in beer, my cat could compete. Come on. </li></ul><ul><li>A business model inspired by African cocoa farmers: “Hey, our product is superior! Let's sell it for next to nothing.” </li></ul><ul><li>Sell it dear. Give it a think coat of training. Jack up your support prices. Don't stop until the proprietary alternative looks cheap. </li></ul><ul><li>Most IT projects flop. Often it's a buy-in and commitment problem. People commit more to Porsches than Ladas. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Let's lose the TCO war with proprietary vendors. If Microsoft becomes the cheaper alternative to free software, it should be considered a market correction in price/value points.
  10. 10. business technology providers: bait them with open, switch them to proprietary <ul><li>Free business school lesson: fraud is not a sustainable business model </li></ul><ul><li>“ Oh, you wanted documentation and upgrade tools? We thought you might.” </li></ul><ul><li>A semi-free business model represents a failure to evolve. Let's look a little closer... </li></ul>
  11. 11. business technology providers: bait them with open, switch them to proprietary revenue = volume x profit per Proprietary model can influence the per client/sale/channel profitability at will This is where free software business models will attain sustainability
  12. 12. the client enterprise: using TCO, ROI, payback period, etc. <ul><li>By focusing our message on cost, open source vendors have gotten into a pissing match. And they are up against some real talent. </li></ul><ul><li>$ and € as IT investment decision making aids are a crutch </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  13. 13. the client enterprise: not going aggressively for open source <ul><li>If your proprietary vendor isn't predatory, they are potentially predatory. But don't tell the investors, they hate risk. </li></ul><ul><li>We can't all be Wal-Mart. Give us a product roadmap we can influence. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don't tell Josef Assad, but it really is cheaper.” </li></ul>
  14. 14. the client enterprise: quit using, start stakeholding Q: What is a “stakeholder”, Clyde? A: A stakeholder is a community member with a business card. (and don't call me Clyde.)‏
  15. 15. the client enterprise: quit using, start stakeholding <ul><li>Feed bug reports and fixes, feature requests and patches back to the community. Through the vendor if need be. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Oh, so you want to talk ROI? Give us one fix and we'll give you ten.” </li></ul><ul><li>Confidentiality? Competitive advantage? No, those are in your data not your software. </li></ul>
  16. 16. o hai community, ur doing it rong: emphasising breadth over depth <ul><li>4 more years (of RTFM)! 4 more years (of STFW)! </li></ul><ul><li>Just because some of RMS' principles are inconvenient doesn't mean they aren't relevant </li></ul>
  17. 17. thank you VCs, for rewarding mimicry of proprietary models <ul><li>VCs are funding the monetization of specific packages; find a niche, dig yourself in </li></ul><ul><li>Free software disrupts conventional software economics wisdom – maybe the business models shouldn't be carbon copies of proprietary ones. </li></ul>
  18. 18. so what's a venture capital fund to do? <ul><li>Freedom commoditizes software. </li></ul><ul><li>A commodified market tends to sport many small participants. A free software Microsoft is unlikely. </li></ul><ul><li>VCs need to scale down. </li></ul><ul><li>Seek inspiration in microfinance: if the banking industry can scale that far down then anyone can </li></ul>
  19. 19. so who is on to something?
  20. 20. collaborative software initiative <ul><li>Shared platform </li></ul><ul><li>Shared costs </li></ul><ul><li>Crowdsourced domain-specific wisdom </li></ul><ul><li>Come on, it abbreviates to CSI! </li></ul>
  21. 21. north-by-south <ul><li>Network of Latin American free software developers </li></ul><ul><li>Business-minded project managers on client site </li></ul><ul><li>Linked directly in to the community. </li></ul>
  22. 22. openlogic <ul><li>Remember that thing with scaling down? </li></ul><ul><li>Support for 400 free software packages. With consolidated SLA. </li></ul><ul><li>The moment we've all been waiting for: commercial support for both vim and emacs from the same vendor (nano users should have known better)! </li></ul>
  23. 23. notions to take away <ul><li>There's profit in scaling out and down </li></ul><ul><li>Don't sell software, sell capability development </li></ul><ul><li>Vendors: make it expensive. Business clients: like it like that </li></ul><ul><li>O' gentle CIO: you'll look funny if you miss the free software stampede </li></ul><ul><li>Community: quit it with the stampede </li></ul>
  24. 24. EOF Josef Assad [email_address]