I've argued that cloud vendors are in a better position to monetize open source products than open source software vendors themselves. I'm not alone in this thinking.
In William Vambenepe's post, "Cloud + proprietary software = love," there may be yet another reason for open source vendors to drink the cloud Kool-Aid with caution.
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If Cloud providers get it right and software vendors play ball, the "proprietary vs. OSS" debate may become more favorable to proprietary software in the Cloud than it is on-premise.
Vambenepe's argument centers on cloud computing alleviating buyers from the hassle of license management.
The removal of license management as a concern may not make a big difference to large corporations that have an Unlimited License Agreement, but for smaller companies it may take a chunk out of the reasons to use open source software. Not only do you not have to track license usage (and renewal), you never have to spend time with a sales rep. You don't have to ask yourself at what point in your beta program you've moved from a legitimate use of the (often free) development license to a situation in which you need a production license.
With license management being equally unnecessary for open source or proprietary software in the cloud, buyers can focus on other selection criteria, such as costs. Unlike development or unsupported usage scenarios, both open source and proprietary products have an associated license costs in the cloud. This is obviously for products delivered and supported by the cloud provider or the cloud provider's partner.