With news of the SpringSource acquisition by VMWare still reverberating around the blogosphere and twittersphere, many in the open source world are wondering whether VMWare will now be another large open source company.“Being an open source company” is partly about technology (providing products under open source licenses) and contributing to the open source community. However, more importantly, being an open source company also means a certain way of doing business. These open source business practices typically include some of the following:
I believe VMWare and SpringSource when they say will continue to contribute to the open source licensed projects, because it will be in their best business interest to keep millions of developers using Spring.
I’m a little more skeptical that they will embrace some or all of the business practices of open source. It can be very difficult for large companies to make those changes – for both philosophical and financial reasons. Although the current intent may be to continue some of those open source practices in the “SpringSource division”, over time the demands, complexities and politics of the larger company may start to erode those practices if they remain distinct from the business practices of VMWare as a whole.
I’ll be watching the outcome with interest and hoping that VMWare can take on some of these open source business practices and become an open source company.
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