Former MySQL CEO: More successful open source startups needed

At EclipseCon 2010, the executive discussed the shortage of big-money open source ventures

Open source is no longer considered the wild underdog, but it will need more new companies making money off the trend, the one-time CEO of MySQL stressed Wednesday at the EclipseCon 2010 conference.

Panelists from the software industry pondered the future of open source during a late-afternoon session at the Santa Clara, California, conference. Panelist Marten Mickos, who was the longtime CEO of open source database vendor MySQL, emphasized that there has been a shortage of new companies making lots of money off of open source. Instead, established commercially based companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle are underwriting open source along with open source foundations like the Apache Software Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, Linux Foundation, and Mozilla.

"Hopefully, there will be great, great startups as well who will make millions and billions of dollars but that's actually where we haven't really reached victory yet. We have had a handful of great financial successes in open source [such as] Red Hat, JBoss, MySQL, XenSource," said Mickos. "But it isn't enough."

Mickos recently became CEO of open source cloud technology startup Eucalyptus. MySQL was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008 and is now Oracle property, given Oracle's absorption of Sun in January. MySQL, Mickos said, was able to produce a lot of GPL code for the open source movement because "there were revenues all the time." Even so, Mickos said some criticized the company for its dual licensing plan, which had the company offering its software via open source but also selling subscriptions that featured support services.

Also emphasizing a need for revenues to underwrite open source was  panelist Justin Erenkrantz, president of the Apache Software Foundation.

"There needs to be kind of a spot in the ecosystem for commercial companies to make money so that developers can contribute and that they can have living wages" Erenkrantz said. It will be both open source communities such as Eclipse and venture capital-backed startups ensuring the future of open source, said Erenkrantz.

Offering a different perspective on the future of open source, analyst Stephen O'Grady, of RedMonk, stressed decentralized development and an infrastructure to support that.

"To me, the future looks a lot more like GitHub," for collaborating on software projects, he said. GitHub is based on the Git software version control system.

O'Grady also stressed the potential of data in the open source, in which information can be aggregated and analyzed.

"To me, the most obvious untapped revenue opportunity for open source is data," O'Grady said.

Despite assertions by some that open source cannot innovate and just commoditizes markets, O'Grady said open source has enabled innovation in areas such as cloud computing. But it can be an aggressive commoditizer, he acknowledged.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags open sourcemysqlEclipseCon

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?