Soltero:I've always believed that open source will soon become the "price for entry" for any emerging software vendor and an increasingly attractive alternative for mature vendors with the guts to embrace it. The reason for this is based on the "historical baggage" of how commercial software vendors have treated their customers in the past. Expensive, up-front costs coupled with business models where the vendor held most of the cards and could bank on a good salesman to close the deal. Customers are educated into the art of procuring software and are demanding a process that starts and ends with them in control. Open source affords this by allowing those customers to evaluate and consume software under their own terms and engage with the vendor around the points of value that are clear to them. This trend depends on the creation of a community of users -- who can otherwise be regarded as empowered prospects -- who participate in the use, development, and refinement of a product.
In less than 5 years, in fact, starting even in 2008, vendors will not be able to bank their futures solely on them being "open source" and instead will have to use the benefits described above to drive the same degree of innovation that powered the first 25 years of the commercial software industry.
Vice president of open source and standards
Sutor: I've been talking to a lot of people lately who were relatively early adopters of open source in customer environments but who are now looking to start new projects with their peers in their industries. When this next wave of people come in, it may unsettle some of the earlier understandings of expectations and "how things are supposed to work." Everyone will just need to adjust. I think the area of open source organizational governance will become very hot in the next few years. What are your policies on open source entering or leaving your organization? How do you deal with open source in the products that you create or that you OEM from other people? How do you do this efficiently across all your business units so that you avoid unnecessary conflicts yet drive the whole business forward? Who decides?