Roundtable: The state of open source

11 leaders from the open source and vendor communities discuss the current open source climate and outline the challenges and opportunities ahead

Any endeavor rooted in community is bound to spark passionate debate. After all, without contention, how else to determine the best way forward?

Since its emergence, open source has embodied this spirit. Part defiant, part self-reliant, and often outspoken and opinionated, those immersed in the community have worked both in tandem and at odds, all with the intention of pushing the movement in as many worthwhile directions at once.

[ See the slideshow: Roundtable: The state of open source ]

So worthwhile that the drumbeat of business can now be heard in nearly every corner of community, drawing the attention of vendors and capitalists alike. And with greater attention and potential has come a measure of added strife. Questions of selling out and just desserts surface more frequently, yet not to the jeopardy of the endeavor, as the code keeps proliferating, thanks to those who participate.

And so on the eve of our Open Source Business Conference, we spoke with 11 thought leaders about the current open source climate to uncover the most vibrant themes and conflicts shaping open source today.

From pioneers Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond, to technology strategists at Google, IBM, and Microsoft, to the new guard of entrepreneurs and developers working to transform projects into products, each of our roundtable participants sheds ample light on the opportunities and pitfalls ahead.

Topic No. 1: Issues and opportunities
Topic No. 2: Evolving trends
Topic No. 3: The cost of commercialization
Topic No. 4: Avenues for acceptance
Topic No. 5: Missteps and lessons learned
Topic No. 6: Visions of utopia
Topic No. 7: Competition and dissent

Roundtable participants


Matt Asay
Vice president of business development, Alfresco


Andy Astor
CEO of EnterpriseDB


Chris DiBona
Open source programs manager, Google


Bruce Perens
Creator of the Open Source Definition and co-founder of the Open Source Initiative


Sam Ramji
Senior director of platform technology strategy, Microsoft


Eric S. Raymond
Programmer, author, and open source software advocate


Dave Rosenberg
CEO and co-founder, Mulesource


Javier Soltero
CEO, Hyperic


Mark Spencer
Founder and CTO, Digium


Robert Sutor
Vice president of open source and standards, IBM


Zack Urlocker
Vice president of products, MySQL

Additional open source resources

2007 InfoWorld Bossie Awards
InfoWorld editors and reviewers award the Best Open Source Software for the enterprise
OSBC: Open Source Business Conference
Blog: Open Sources | Rodriguez & Urlocker

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.