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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: Infozone
Date Thu, 08 Jun 2000 23:12:10 GMT
Andy Lewis wrote:
> If I could ask an OOS related question here (I know it's actually the Cocoon
> list, but this seemed like a good thread for it) -

Sure. I'm happy when I'm helpful.
> What is a good way for a commercial venture to interact with OSS?

In a friendly way.
> I'm involved with one that will hopefully be getting off the ground in a
> couple of months, and the general strategy were are looking at is to
> dedicate X development staff to existing OSS projects to help move them
> forward. All of their work from those individuals will be contributed back
> to the project, and then they will be the "product experts" on those
> projects while implementing commercial solutions (not contributed) on top of
> the OSS infrastructure. Any fatal flaws, flames, or commentaries on that
> approach?

I don't see any. You are creating value to add on top, but also
contributing back to the community to pay off. If you play this game and
the community is fully aware of this, you should not have troubles on
the OSS part.

Sure, you must add good value to be capable of selling something you
otherwise can get for free, but this is entirely up to you and I'm sure
it can be done. It also makes sense to contribute back those added
values to the community (if accepted) when your profit/management-cost
rate for those parts starts to drop below a certain threshold.

But I have no idea on how to estimate that threshold.
> (This really is relevant since Cocoon will play a major part in the
> architecture)

I suspected :)

But I'm entirely honest and the above should be a general practice.
Let's make an example: people talked about SAP components for Cocoon.
While I'm sure many companies would love to have them, I also thing
there is not enough general SAP interest to make it feasible for the
Cocoon community to maintain such code. Also, there is high
profit/effort ratio in such a component, so it could make sense to
develop a SAP-aware version of Cocoon and sell this as a product to
customers and support these special components.

The same could be said for CORBA or any other uncommon-yet-fancy system

Anyway, my point is: as long as you play nice and base your business
model to added value and inability to (directly) control the OSS
projects you base on, you are fine.

In my experience, problems develop when you fail to do one or more of
the things listed above.
> Thanks!

Hope this helps.
> Andy Lewis
> "The heights of genius are only measurable by the depths of stupidity."

That's a good one :)

Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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