Open source stack era ending?

While embedding worked fine when you could count on a continuing revenue stream, open source which gets too deeply embedded becomes free, since it no longer requires support, and support is where the money comes from.

Just because the plot is familiar doesn't mean the ending is the same.

This is important to remember, especially when reading a breathless new market study from a breathless new research service, like The 451 Group's CAOS open source outfit.

In this case, the headline is that the glory days of the open source stack are ending. This is not news to most vendors. A simple stack pushed toward users isn't going to make you rich anymore, unless you were obscenely rich and now wish to be merely rich.

Raven Zachary, who heads the new service, suggests stack vendors work with application vendors so customers have "one throat to choke." Basically, they have to find ways to expand vertically and horizontally, moving up the stack into applications which use it, and laterally into various industries.

The advice is integration. Integrate with solutions. Integrate with hardware. Get yourself embedded in something.

This is what most of these vendors are already doing. And having covered this space for two decades I have to admit I've seen this movie before. New vendors are maturing, big customers are demanding, alliances are forming.

The real question is, in the world of open source, does this necessarily mean the same ending? (Consolidation.)

Personally I don't think so. While embedding worked fine when you could count on a continuing revenue stream, open source which gets too deeply embedded becomes free, since it no longer requires support, and support is where the money comes from.

The way open source firms survive in the future, to my mind, is to do something new. Always do something new, and useful, and valuable. So take a lesson from the author, not the story. You're only as good as what you're up to now.

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