While reflecting on my Bursting Bubbles & the “golden age of open source?” post from yesterday, I came across Simon Phipps’ tweet for his links for 2010-08-10 which included his following description of Matthew Aslett’s The golden age of open source? post:
Matthew Aslett describes what I called “the open source bubble” as open source 3.0 and agrees it’s ending in favour of what he calls “open source 4.0” or company-dominated (but not controlled) collaborative communities. He notes he’s adjusting his predictions in the light of the involvement of entities such as NASA who are not directly software vendors and describes this as the coming “golden age of open source”, citing examples. Certainly worth reading, and bound to stimulate conversations – “the King is dead, long live the King”.
While I am supportive of Matthew’s and Simon’s analysis, I believe that the claim that open source 3.0 is “ending in favour of” open source 4.0 is inaccurate. The various stages of open source software are not sequential chapters where one chapter must end before the next chapter begins. The four stages put forward by Matthew should really be seen as quadrants that will and should co-exist.
While I accept Simon’s following analysis from his initial post:
The anomaly is not that projects like Hadoop or OpenStack lack a company “monetising” them – it’s that we believe open source projects ought to have such a company. The past decade has been something of an “open source bubble”, with many people believing there is a fortune to be made if only they can find the right business model to pack around open source.
it is important to realize that open source 3.0 is simply becoming a smaller bubble that is at most endangered and certainly not extinct. While the emphasis on quadrants will shift over time, the “kings” will coexist and the world of open source software will be stronger from this diversity.
One farm boy lesson I learned from many hours spent weeding our gardens, is that “nature abhors a mono-culture”. This is equally true of open source software and commons sourcing and the world is a better place because of it.