OSA never got much further than its little hotel-room conferences. Its funding came from open source companies like BlackDuck that were looking to build sales channels, and not from the channel iteself.
I was initially intrigued by the OSA. They had a series of meetings that hoped to develop a channel for business-oriented open source projects.
In this way they hoped to recreate the same structure that proprietary companies have. Proprietary channel vendors can be very powerful. Comdex stood for Computer Dealers Expo -- it was a channel show.
But that's not how open source works. Most open source channel companies are highly vertical. They specialize in an application set (like retail) and are using open source solely to improve their bottom lines. Their main interest is in keeping control of the customer.
This may be why the OSA seemed like such a great idea. That pure drive for sales and profit can appear strange at an open source conference, where other motives must also be given lip service.
Unfortunately the OSA never got much further than its little hotel-room conferences. Its funding came from open source companies like BlackDuck that were looking to build sales channels, and not from the channel iteself.
OW2, by contrast, has gotten some traction pushing open source middleware. Middleware is a sweet spot for resellers. The projects are often small, they're run in a businesslike manner, and it's a good place for them to put the "secret sauce" that brings in the customers.
OSA gives OW2 a bigger U.S. presence, along with another niche it can exploit. Just as important, I think, is that OW2 gives OSA an exit strategy.
I hope the people behind OSA won't find this post to be a criticism. I believe the idea of the group was laudable, and that the deal with OW2 is a good one.