As time has gone by, a clear "Sun Model" for open source business has been emerging, at least to my eyes. The summary of it is:
- remove barriers to software adoption between download and deploy;
- encourage a large and cohesive community of software deployers;
- deliver, for a fee, the means to create value between deploy and scale, for those who need it.
Each software team at Sun interprets this model in a slightly different way, but the model holds pretty much everywhere and works regardless of the license for the code. As a business model, it doesn't have much to say about the nature of the development community, but I believe dysfunction in that area is a barrier to adoption so it's always an issue if dysfunction exists.
This model is the natural progression of the concept of monetising at the point of value, and I hope to explore it more over the coming weeks. Feel free to ask questions below about the things needing clarification.
Expressing the Sun Model this concisely is not easy. Just three points, two of which are one-liners at least on my screen. And at least MySQL follows it, not just to the spirit, but I'd venture to say we follow it even to the letter.
Impressive job, Simon!