Open source no panacea

Going open source won't turn a bad product which is lagging the market into a market leader. And consider your license.

After six months as an open source outfit Hyperic is doing well, CEO Javier Soltero said.

Since getting $4 million in venture capital the company has hit all its milestones. Members of its community are starting to contribute plug-ins and code. Downloads have jumped well over the 10,000 mark -- not bad for an enterprise system management package.

So what advice do you have for other companies considering the open source route, I asked jauntily.

Be careful, he said. "It's not a panacea." You have to have a strategy. Going open source won't turn a bad product which is lagging the market into a market leader. And consider your license. "We were fortunate to have Larry Augustin on our board. He knows his way around this."

All sound advice. Open source isn't for everyone. Go into it with eyes wide open.

Let me add one more piece of advice, one Soltero was too modest to offer. Make sure your CEO can explain things simply, a people person rather than just a techie. Soltero does that naturally. So do most of the best open source CEOs I talk with.

They're just too modest to say so.