Current Talks as of 2013-06-15

Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle, M.B.A.
Professor of Open Source Software, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg

This is a list of general-interest talks I currently have available; feel free to contact me if you’d like me to come and address any of these topics. Please see presentations/current-talks for some vidoes. In addition, there are always the research talks, see publications.

Table of Contents

  1. Sustainable Open Source
  2. Single-Vendor Commercial Open Source
  3. Open Source User Foundations
  4. The Open Source Developer Career
  5. Inner Source in Product Line Engineering
  6. Best of Our Empirical Open Source Research
  7. Open Source in Universitätsprojekten

Sustainable Open Source

MySQL was sold for one billion US-dollar. Red Hat is worth a multiple of that. The Eclipse Foundation has pushed many software tool vendors out of business. How come that open source, a phenomenon dubbed “temporary” not only has become sustainable but the business strategy of choice? In this talk, I discuss the four main business models, two for-profit and two not-for-profit, that have made open source sustainable. These models are changing the business of software and the future of our industry.

Single-Vendor Commercial Open Source

Single-vendor commercial open source software projects are open source software projects that are owned by a single firm that derives a direct and significant revenue stream from the software. This neo-proprietary business model represents an economic paradox at first: How can a firm earn money if it is making its product available for free? This talk presents how using a commercial open source approach, firms can get to market faster with a superior product at lower cost than possible for traditional competitors. These benefits accrue from an engaged and self-supporting user community. The presentation is based on a case study of practitioners of the model and provides a coherent description of revenue generation strategies and related business functions.

Open Source User Foundations

Open source user foundations are non-profit organizations that sponsor the development of foundation-owned open source software. Members of the foundation are software user companies, not software vendors. The goal of the foundation is to help software user companies lose the shackles of vendor lock-in and the problems it creates: price gouging, slow innovation, and loss of control over one’s fate. This talk presents the business model of these user foundations. At the center of the strategy rests foundation-owned open source software that is enhanced and commercialized by an ecosystem of software companies. The foundation steers the development of the core software but allows for innovation by its ecosystem partners.

The Open Source Developer Career

Open source has created a new career ladder for software developers, orthogonal to the traditional career in software firms. Advancing on this career ladder can win developers broader recognition for their work, increase their salaries, and improve their job security. Most importantly, advanced positions on this career ladder strengthen a developer’s negotiation power towards their employer. Software developers, project and hiring managers, and personnel departments of companies engaging in open source need to understand this new reality to effectively hire such developers and work with open source projects.

Inner Source in Product Line Engineering

While open source software helps you improve your products, open source methods help you improve your software development process. For a while now, large software vendors have been using open source methods in their firm-internal software development processes to make them more effective. Labeled “inner source”, the use of open source methods helps projects overcome lack of resources, innovation, and quality. In this presentation I will focus on the use of inner source in improving product line engineering. I will report about three case studies that we have carried out over the last few years, covering: problems in product line engineering, the promise of inner source, the challenges of applying inner source, and the solution adopted by our case study companies.

Best of Our Empirical Open Source Research

Open source software is publicly developed software. Thus, for the first time, we can broadly analyze in data-driven detail how people program, how bugs come about, and how we could improve our tools. In this talk, I’ll review six years of our open source empirical (data) research and highlight the most interesting insights, including how different (or not) open source is from closed source programming.

Open Source in Universitätsprojekten

Ich werde häufig gefragt: “Ich möchte mein Projekt zu einem Open-Source-Projekt machen. Welche Lizenz soll ich wählen?” Oder: “Wie erzeuge ich eine Open-Source-Gemeinde, welche meine Arbeit fortführt?” Bevor ein Projektleiter den Schritt zu einem Open-Source-Projekt erwägt und sich diese Fragen stellt, sollte er oder sie sich Klarheit über das Geschäftsmodell schaffen, welches das Projekt zu den erhofften Zielen führen soll. In diesem Vortrag erkläre ich zwei archetypische Geschäftsmodelle von Softwareprojekten im Universitätsbereich und wie Open-Source-Strategien ihnen zum Erfolg verhelfen können: die studentische Start-up mit Profitmotiv und das wissenschaftliche Gemeinschaftsprojekt zum Wohle der Allgemeinheit.

Dirk Riehle One-Paragraph Biography

Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle, M.B.A., is the Professor of Open Source Software at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Before joining academia, Riehle led the Open Source Research Group at SAP Labs, LLC, in Palo Alto, California (Silicon Valley). Riehle founded the Wiki Symposium, and more recently, the Open Symposium, now the joint international conference on open collaboration. He was also the lead architect of the first UML virtual machine. He is interested in open source software engineering and agile methods, complexity science and human collaboration, and software design. Prof. Riehle holds a Ph.D. in computer science from ETH Zürich and an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School. He welcomes email at, blogs at, and tweets as @dirkriehle.