Peter Yared wrote recently a BusinessWeek guest blog post called “Failure of Commercial Open Source Software.” Not surprisingly his post caused a lot of angry replies from people who work for COSS companies. “The emperor is not naked” they argued.
I believe that the COSS emperor is openly naked. And the discussion shouldn’t be whether COSS is a complete or a partial failure just because there are few successful exits that Peter neglected to mention. At the end of the day Peter’s comment that “selling software is miserable” is true. Every sales rep involved in selling COSS would agree (I’m interviewing many of them now). Selling COSS is no easier than selling any other form of software.
Any company using the word “open” should be able to explain the true cost of delivery (this is one of Peter’s points). And there is an obvious litmus test of openness of COSS companies: One that I would call “open pricing.” COSS companies should openly publish their price list and clearly mark what’s free and open and what’s paid and closed. Otherwise OSS is just a bait-and-switch to a familiar proprietary software tactic of customer lock-in. This is what OSS was supposed to get rid of in the first place.
Let’s take a look at some of COSS companies in the Business Intelligence space. The bait and switch is in a full swing here:
Jaspersoft: https://www.jaspersoft.com/jaspersoft-business-intelligence-suite-0 Let us prepare a custom quote for you.
Pentaho: http://www.pentaho.com/products/buy_bi_suite.php Request a Quote
Talend: http://www.talend.com/store/talend-store-inquiries.php A Talend account manager will be in touch shortly to provide information and/or a detailed quote.
We announced GoodData pricing earlier today and I would actually argue that we are a more open company than any of companies listed above. Our customers know exactly what service they get and how much it will cost.
We stick to our company motto: GoodData = BI – BS. And at there is a lot of BS going on in COSS space. It may actually be its biggest failure.
Full disclosure: I have been a big believer in open source since we opensourced NetBeans more than 10 years ago.