Open source DIY

Posted on Wed 30 July 2003
Matthew makes on his O'Reilly blog an interesting comparison between opensource software and low-cost airlines.

There are many similarities and this shows that, even if software is immaterial, the business surrounding it is not that different from traditional business.

The concept of "DIY" software is good for us, companies involved in the development of opensource projects as it eases selling consulting services. But consulting revenues are only proportional to the manpower while selling products decouples the revenues from people's time (see Microsoft!).

Now what's the place of products in this DIY world? It's in products that facilitate DIY.

Opensource projects are most often frameworks (with the noticeable Eclipse exception) because their developpers being hardcore programmers don't need fancy tools to use them. But the vast majority of other people would love graphical helpers, both because it shortens the learning time and because those people are less skilled.

This reminds me of Joel's Stragegy Letter V : since opensource frameworks are becoming commodities, our business must provide their complements. Consulting services backed by committers are a complement, facilitating products are another one.

But the whole question is : are people ready to buy enough of these products so that they're worth the investment ?

Back home, back to work

Woody's joyful conception