"For some people, (open source) is a philosophical requirement, a sign of integrity and trust in a vendor. This will close that gap and address any lingering doubts they have about our openness and commitment to community."
Jeff Whatcott, vice president for product marketing at Adobe's enterprise and developer business unit, told this to C|Net's Martin Lamonica recently, while explaining how his company will open source Flex, its tool for building Flash animations, under the Mozilla Public License. Previously the company donated its ActionScript virtual machine to the Mozilla Foundation.
There is a plaintiff quality to this quote which may not have been intended, but which resonates nonetheless. I take no special joy in seeing the demise of the proprietary model. Business is business, and what works in business works. Open source works.
For a company to remain relevant in the world of software it has to engage open source. It has to contribute to open source. It has to move toward the open source incline, and find a way down that incline while protecting its stakeholders.
This is the main challenge of the industry in our time. It's a business model problem, just as Internet journalism is a business model problem, just as the Copyright Wars represent a business model problem.
The answers to these problems aren't apparent to all. I believe they lie in the word Internet itself.
The In stands for Intimate.
You have to engage, intimately, with your target market. You have to let them into your own thinking, with arms open, let them feel the embrace of your brand, and mean it.
Mr. Marketing Executive, Mr. Record Producer, Mr. Editor, tear down this wall.