Abstract: Commercial open source software has become an important part of the packaged software product industry. This paper provides a model of individual product features, rather than full-fledged business models, and their perceived value to customers. The model is the result of a three-iteration study, including interview analysis, literature review and the implementation of an empirical survey. Companies can use the feature model to determine their products and business model.
Keywords: Commercial open source; software product features
Reference: Florian Weikert, Dirk Riehle. “A Model of Commercial Open Source Software Product Features.” In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Software Business (ICSOB 2013). Springer Verlag, 2013, to appear.
The paper is available as a PDF file.
During a trip to New Zealand I found this wool store near Taihape, on the road between Taupo and Wellington. I bought a couple of pieces and was so happy that I went to their website to buy some more, which also turned out to be a pleasant experience. However, when I returned yet again, a few days ago, they had changed the website: I was now being quoted in Euros, my native currency, and not in New Zealand dollars any longer.
2012 was the year when I first did some serious public policy consulting. I found it quite informative to see how politicians work and what the impact of lobbyists is.
I’m a professor of computer science at a German technical university. I also have an M.B.A. from Stanford. I consult on open source, software development, and the software industry. I’m also a civil servant of the state of Bavaria in Germany. Thus, I try to maintain a policy-neutral stance, consulting on mechanism more than on policy. The German people elect politicians, politicians choose policy, and I help politicians choose and define mechanisms that will turn those policies into reality.
Richard Feynman, in an enjoyable-to-read article , explains what he calls the cargo cult:
In the South Seas there is a Cargo Cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he’s the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land.
The cargo cult people confused correlation with causation. They thought that creating one condition (runways, controller) would lead to the desired effect (planes with lots of good stuff). It is a common fallacy to confuse correlation with causation, that is, the coinciding of two events (correlation) with a cause and effect relationship between them (causation).
Positionspapier zu “Open Source” für die EIDG Projektgruppe Interoperabilität, Standards, Open Source
Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle, M.B.A. / Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Open Source ist eine disruptive Innovation in der Softwareindustrie. Sie hat zu neuen Geschäftsmodellen geführt, mit denen Softwareunternehmen schneller und kostengünstiger bessere Software entwickeln und damit etablierte Spieler aushebeln können. Für die wenigen großen deutschen Softwarehersteller (SAP, Software AG), stellt dies erst einmal ein Problem dar, sofern sie nicht angemessen reagieren (was bisher nur zum Teil geschah). Für die deutsche Softwarebranche insgesamt ist dies aber eine positive Entwicklung, da sie neue Chancen eröffnet und den Stärken unserer Industrie und Kultur entgegenkommt.
Bearing Point Consulting just published a study on the use of open source software in the automotive industry. It shows how open source is on the rise, no surprise. Martin Helmreich, a student of mine, did most of the work, and I guided study conception and evaluation. Here are links to the German version and the English version. I’m particularly proud about this news coverage. It is our first Chinese news coverage!
I’m at beautiful Schloss Dagstuhl once again this week, for a seminar on “Open Models as a Foundation of Future Enterprise Systems”. I was asked to spin some thoughts on what the Open Models Initiative could learn from open source. The result is a short but sweet presentation on “the business of open models”. My maybe obvious statement is that for open models to be sustainable, they’ll need a business model. My suggestion is to create developer foundations like Apache or Eclipse for this. The slides are available as a PDF and through Slideshare, see below:
“Startupinformatik” is a German term for “informatics (computer science) for startups” that I just made up. It is intended to be close to “Wirtschaftsinformatik”, which is German for “informatics for businesses”. So it is about the business of startups and the role software (IT) plays in it. You can read my prior thoughts
2012-02-18: Updated the post with translations from the original letter.
I’m an Addison-Wesley author and just received a letter from Pearson, the owner of Addison-Wesley, informing me about their thoughts and steps towards e-books and the digital age. The letter is written as an open letter with no apparent secrets, so I’m making it available here for anyone interested to read and to comment on it.
In general, I have sympathies with companies trying to sustain their revenue streams. I do expect them, however, to understand that change is inevitable and to flexibly react to and to lead that change for their customers’ sake and not just their shareholders’ sake. As an author, I’m naturally in a similar or at least related situation.
The PDF is marked up with numbers. The following list relates to what the (German) letter says on the respective issues:
A technology is disruptive, if it allows new companies to shake up an established market and win against established large companies.
I got asked three times this week what “disruptive” means so here is my definition