Tuesday, May 19, 2009

David Axmark's Open Source Law

I was speaking with David Axmark, Co-Founder of MySQL, at the Chaminade Resort atop the Santa Cruz Mountains that overlooks Monterey Bay. David made a very interesting statement that really caused me to pause and think. We were discussing open source and David said, "you are not doing open source until someone says no."

The key point David was making was that if you are open sourcing your code but retaining 100% control of your entire code base, that is not doing real open source. Obviously, there are many examples of companies/individuals doing this type of release (retaining 100% version control) very successfully, but David makes a great point.

There is a corollary on the sales side of the house that I heard many, many years ago which says:

You are not selling until the customer says NO.

There are not too many Laws that have both technology and sales parallels, but this is clearly one of them.

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