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Coffee with Bernard

04/30/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Business Perspective, Open Source, Open Source, Open Source

We (Clarise and Joseph) met with Bernard Golden, the CEO of Navica.

Bernard Golden CEO Navica

Bernard spoke at a recent Leadership Forum on Opportunities in Open Source, where we first met him. He read my blog article about the forum, and invited us to meet with him, to continue the discussion over coffee at the Uptown Cafe in San Carlos, CA. Bernard is the creator of the Open Source Maturity Model, which is used to determine the desirability and risk associated with using a specific open source product. Our discussion was an extension of the Leadership Forum, and lasted over two-and-an-half hours. We probably could have turned a tape of our discussion into five wiki(Podcasting,podcasts). &#59;) What follows is a very brief summary of what we discussed.

Business Models

The first topic of discussion related to the various business models that are developing around open source products. We discussed use models, service models, mixed commercial/open source models and integration models.

  • Incorporation of open source projects into in-house IT projects
  • Support Services for an open source package
  • Professional Services, Strategic Consulting and Analysis surrounding Open Source packages
  • Web Hosting add-ons, ASP, Web Services and SAAS offerings
  • Products that offer a set of functions as open source, and an extended set of functions in a commercial version
  • Open source products that have enhanced management panels or other features for ease of use, available commercially
  • Suites that integrate several open source projects under a single framework for administration and use
  • Appliances that provide open source software on an open source platform, housed in a commercial box


Another interesting area of discussion centered around giving back to the open source community, especially for the project that you are using for your corporate business model. The most common is giving back code snippets; fixing a bug here, adding a feature there. Another common practice is becoming a member of the open source project team, or contributing documentation, project management, mirror sites, and other services that help contribute to the success and longevity of the project. Many open source projects have a PayPal or other "DONATE" button on their web sites, but most of these donations are fairly small - more along the lines of keeping the team supplied with Jolt cola, not providing a living wage. Other donations may be in the terms of equipment, servers, routers, etc. However, no best practices have developed in terms of, for example, giving 1% off the top from quarterly revenue or savings.


Clarise was most curious about how much acceptance has open source enjoyed. Bernard feels that this is a very difficult question to answer. There have been too many studies, all with different results. Also, much of open source usage is anonymous and even covert. Ask the CIO, and that person might say there is no open source usage in their shop; ask a sys admin or developer and they'll point to several in-production open source projects. Who has budget for anything else these days? Another problem is that downloads don't equal acceptance. Someone may download to evaluate or to use. They may do the first and not the second. They may not do either.

Open Source Community Changes

Bernard sees that there will be many changes to the open source communities over the next several years. This will come about for a variety of reasons.

  1. maturing of the open source communities
  2. gaining acceptance
  3. user interaction with developers
  4. interchange between the developers' "hobby" project and their day job
  5. new business models
  6. shake out of the various business models

One interesting example of number 4 is happening with the open source project that forms the basis of this blog, b2evolution. François Planque reports, in "A quick update about the development..." that

Fortunately, there have been two major events affecting the development of b2evo. First, the development team has grown significantly, and second, most of us have come to actually use b2evolution professionally, as part of our day jobs... with the nice side effect of virtually bringing commercial company support to the project - read: "paid development time" ! :)

At my own employer's we use that thing we've come to call "evocore" as the framework for a major application we are building internally. This application has not much to do with blogging, but reusing all the existing framework/core code saves us a lot of time. We've also been extending the evocore significantly and I'm working on taking advantage of the new features in the higher level b2evo features and interface.

-- François Planque

IT Shop Cultures

Another interesting topic of discussion was the possible shift in IT shop cultures. Traditionally, IT shops either build most of what they use, or buy it. Open source software may offer a third route, or may fit into either philosophy.


We discussed many other things, including the impact of globalization and the distributed work force, and how open source communities may be the best examples of distributed, non-hierarchical workgroups ever.

Mostly we agreed that the next few years will be very interesting, and we'll have a lot of fun watching and participating in this movement.

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This blog contains thoughts that range from non-technical to technical. Its name is derived from "Yakity Blah Blah" a column I once had that discussed a cornucopia of ideas. Who am I? I'm Clarise Z. Doval Santos, providing Project Management and Technical Leadership for data management and analytic, data science, IoT and sensor analytics ecosystems 37.652951177164 -122.490877706959


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