How much openness does the market demand?

The stakes have really been raised. It's not enough to be open source, even to be at the bottom of the open source incline. Now it's ease of use, branding, and business basics that count.

The aim of every company's open source strategy is to maximize its user base and, in the end, its revenue base.

So how much openness do you require? Sometimes, if your brand rocks, just a little is enough.

Today, for instance, we learn that AutoDesk's MapGuide Open Source has been adopted as a fully endorsed project within the Open Source Geospatial Foundation.

This is cool, but is it making a real market impact? Google's new MyMaps feature, based on its Google Maps API, claims to make custom mapping so easy "a caveman could do it." (Attention GEICO legal team.) Microsoft offers similar features at Live Search Maps.

Which announcement will result in more growth, more money, more profit? I suspect it's Google's. And it might be Microsoft's.

The point is that merely releasing code does not guarantee you a whole lot. Delivering tools which make that code easy to use may be more important. Using a brand name (as Exadel did with JBOSS) may also bring faster growth.

The stakes have really been raised. It's not enough to be open source, even to be at the bottom of the open source incline. Now it's ease of use, branding, and business basics that count.

Which I consider a very good thing.

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