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OSBC - Open source 2.0: New kids on the block

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Remember a year or so ago when you could probably name most of the open-source companies in the market? Try doing that now when the number of startups has skyrocketed to several hundred. While this massive growth appears reminiscent of the dot-com boom before the bubble burst, experts in the field stress that the second wave of the open-source revolution, Open Source 2.0 if you like, is unlikely to play out in quite the same way. However, that's not to say there won't be some upsets along the way.

The organizers of the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) East taking place in Newton, Massachusetts, next week have also had first-hand experience of the huge uptick in the number of open-source companies over the past 18 months. When they were planning the first OSBC in San Francisco in March 2004, the organizers found it hard going to come up with enough companies for a showcase of 15 to 20 open-source startups, according to Matt Asay, the conference director and director of open-source strategy at Novell Inc. "It was a lot of work just to find the companies, they were all over the map," he said. "It was slim pickings."

Fast forward to the preparation for OSBC West in April this year in San Francisco, and again in the run-up to the upcoming OSBC East, and Asay and his colleagues were looking at over 150 companies for the showcase for each event. "We're getting really good quality and not just quantity," Asay said.

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