I found Dana Blankenhorn’s blog today on open source and the necessity of vendors an interesting take on the development model in general. In terms of open source as a development model, I think Blankenhorn is spot on. As she states:
“My point is that while open source exists in the market, it also exists outside it, and above it, and around it…vendors may come and go, the code abides.”
Those are two reasons that I’ve heard many a time from SugarCRM customers about their reasoning for selecting SugarCRM over our proprietary-based competitors.
But in terms of open source in the context of business, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Like any asset that a business invests in, a software application is a commodity that requires focus, attention and support to maintain its full value to the company. For the same reasons that open source vendors like us are in business, to make money, businesses that are looking to leverage open source need vendors…because of money.
The costs associated with not having a vendor to turn to for support, services and product direction would be higher then most individual businesses could afford. The only difference is that commercial open source vendors like us are simply leveraging the best of both worlds: leveraging the community-developed process to create a superior piece of software and providing customers with a single point of contact and origin for product support and direction.