Why open source needs an attitude adjustment
Recession be damned. The first quarter of the year saw a record $203.7 million of venture capital flow to young open source companies. You'd think that would be a cause for celebration, but for too many members of the open source community money is, well, icky.
I pick that word deliberately, because the snarky elitists who want to keep open source pure -- and poor -- remind me of children. Case in point: MySQL. Not long before the database company was scooped up by Sun, at great profit to the founders and employees, there was a lot of nastiness about the decision to make a small set of features in WorkBench available to paying customers only.
Imagine that. Asking people to pay for something useful. "Frankly, there are people who call themselves part of the MySQL community that have never contributed a line of code or paid them a dime," says Matt Asay.
Now think about people who use open source products for free. On the one hand, the use of software by large numbers of people and large companies validates it and makes it seem like a safe choice. And that’s a good thing.
"Unfortunately, this cuts the other way, as well: The more free-riders, the more encouraged would-be purchasers will want be to free-ride as well.