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4. Why Consider Open Source?

An open-source project works best when everyone involved derives some benefit from it. There must be a good reason for a person or group to make its work available and for other people--users, developers, and other interested parties--to want to participate.

One very compelling reason for you to participate in an existing open-source project is if your work can build on it. By joining the project, you avoid needing to redo large amounts of work. Plus, there is an existing community of users and developers who have an interest in what you are adding to their project. An example of this was Sun's contribution of its Java Server Pages technology to the Apache web-server project to create the Jakarta project.1 By doing this, Sun assured that JSP would become available on the most widely used web server, that the Apache developers would not create a competitor to JSP, that it would be easier to work with other companies such as IBM on JSP technology, and that JSP could build on the work already done for Apache. For the Apache community, adding JSP was a way to add desired functionality and expand the community of Apache developers; it was also a vote of confidence in their work with Apache.

There are many reasons for people to participate in an open-source project. These include the following:

  • The software being developed helps them to do their work better.
  • They can influence development.
  • They can modify the code to suit their needs.
  • They can interact with and learn from other users.
  • They can be part of a cool project.

These are also reasons why you might choose to join an existing open-source project.


Business Reasons for Choosing to Open Source Your Code

Creating Your Business Model and Following Through with It

Measuring Success

An Example: The Innovation Happens Elsewhere Strategy

Business Reasons for Using Open-Source Products

Why Consider Open Source?

Innovation Happens Elsewhere
Ron Goldman & Richard P. Gabriel
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