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Open Sourcing May Be Worth the Risk (hbr.org)
49 points by mcgin on Oct 12, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments

Certainly there are business models where making the source available doesn't really impact your business negatively. For example, my team makes a lot (almost all, really) of the tools we develop for analyzing security intelligence available as open source, because we compete on the intelligence (data), not the tools themselves.

Open source is interesting, it is a philosophy. I first noticed this when I saw the backlash that was directed at Makerbot when they went against the reprap community and decided not to open source parts of their new replicator 2 printer. When you mess with someones philosophy you have to be very careful.

The decision to open source is not something you can ever backpedal on without serious backlash.

Is this something really unique to tech? I see articles golf clapping efforts like this all the time and I wonder. This really isn't that different than printers or razors. If you are selling a service, give the 'product' away for as cheap as possible and upsell the service. The people who set up their own versions of your service were likely never going to be your customers anyway.

I didn't see any discussion of new revenues or profits stemming from their decision to open source their code.

Great question, there is going to be a follow up on the results - we just need a couple more months for a better sample.

HBR typically has great articles, but this seems horrible.

Their primary reason for open-sourcing was quality? I am not arguing that open-sourcing can help improve quality of a code base, but if you have quality problems and need it, you should hire better developers.

Quite frankly, for most things that you need for your codebase, even if you open source, you need to do the thing that you need yourself. Fine, there are exceptions - if you work with open source you can likely get a bigger community, potentially build partners, and do more things - but you can't open source expecting the quality to go up.

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