Founder and CTO
Spencer: We have learned a lot of lessons. The project started without an organization, and nonprofit organizations helped and taught us how to interact in better ways with the community. Those were the early days. The next steps are to continue to grow and be relevant in a commercial organization to take open source to the next level with corporate focus and identity and penetrate mainstream businesses and markets.
Astor: It's the same lesson that proprietary vendors have learned over the years, and that is that great software is not enough. I looked on SourceForge earlier today, and there are over 170,000 projects, and most of them are dead. Successful software, whether it's open soruce or proprietary, needs a combination of great development and features -- and distribution, marketing, salesmanship, and so forth. Linux would not be a mainstream operating system without Red Hat, and I'm sure that some of my good friends with disagree with me on that. I don't think we'd get too much disagreement that JBoss would be nowhere without the JBoss corporation, or MySQL without MySQL, and Sugar without Sugar. But I think it's true for independent organizations, too. In spite of being a fantastic database, PostgreSQL has had only modest success because it hasn't had a company behind it. We're working to make EnterpriseDB that company. It's more than a matter of building great software. You need marketing, service, salesmanship, support, and documentation -- all the things that open source projects don't necessarily want to do. And that's what capitalists do with software.
Vice president of open source and standards
Sutor: I wouldn't call this a misstep, but I'm dismayed when I see the relatively small efforts put behind industry-specific open source projects. Outside of education and the public sector in general, there are very few projects that have gotten a lot of attention and adoption. I love it when I see Sakai and Moodle doing well and competing in the education and learning area. We need to repeat that in insurance, banking, automotive, retail, energy, telecommunications, and all the other industries. Another thing I think we need to do is better promote and laud the free and open source heroes from around the world. These people have literally changed the IT industry, yet outside of a few well-known folks, many of them are relatively obscure.