Commitment to Open Source’s True Value

Dana Blankenhorn had an interesting take in her blog today in what she terms Sun Microsystem’s “continuing open source problem.” I think given a little time, Schwartz and company will iron out any wrinkles that company may or may not have in its open source strategy. But one comment in particular I thought spoke to the bigger picture of the value proposition that the open source model offers:

“But open source demands more than a financial commitment of its users. And if you want to earn that trust, you must be committed in turn. Committed to the open source process, and committed to the idea of commitment.”

That speaks volumes when considering open source’s true value. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard in the past about open source’s cost value. It’s not about free, in terms of finances, but rather about freedom of choice. Many of our own paying customers here at SugarCRM are companies or organizations that download Community Edition, which my boss refers to as our “biggest competitive threat.” Community Edition isn’t a threat in the sense they’re taking customers away, such as another vendor, but simply a value proposition that offers customers the freedom to stick with SugarCRM, or move on.

That’s a proposition that proprietary vendors can’t offer, and one that speaks to how important commitment is to the open source model.