Many of the responses to my previous blog post “Open Core or Open Snore?” were in agreement, and some were not. As is often the case, the more interesting ones expressed disagreement. Some took issue with my post by pointing out open core companies that might be termed success stories: SugarCRM, Alfresco, Mindtouch. But then, I never wrote that open core cannot be successful, but rather that any success will be limited by nature of the model. Open core effectively places a cap on community development turning open source efforts into a viral marketing play, when it can be so much more.
One critique that did resonate was how much open source dev models actually impacted the bottom line. A company’s success is impacted by a myriad of factors, including open source strategy and tactics.Seeing as how some companies will succeed with practically no open source development at all, it’s only natural to concede that an open core approach will succed in some markets. However, if I were creating an open source community strategy in a crowded, competitive market, I sure wouldn’t want to place an artificial handicap on my community development practices. I’ll use 2 case studies to illustrate my point: Red Hat / Fedora and CollabNet / Subversion