Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bill Joy on Open Source Software Business Model

npg sent me this interesting article by CNET's Ina Fried interviewed Bill Joy.

This was an interesting exchange and a question from Ina to Bill:

"The two examples you point to, the iPad and the iPhone, are things that came from a very tight-knit, proprietary, closed design company. Does it make you think that,  for certain types of devices, an open model is less effective?"

Bill Joy:

"I don't think the open-source community focused on this stuff in the same way. In some sense, you only hit what you aim at. What was the goal of the Linux community--to replace Windows? One can imagine higher aspirations. I think the thing is that open source has been great for hobbyists to get involved, and hobbyists in the sense of the word as somebody who really loves it. That's not a negative thing at all.
It's just not clear how it organizes a sustained and creative activity. Google is using this approach with Android. It's open source, but the money comes from someplace else. More broadly, how do people make a living and do something really creative? I think they have to organize it as a business. I'm all for sharing, but I recognize the truly great things may not come from that environment."
This was the number one area that Jonathan Schwartz did not appreciate while he was CEO of Sun Microsystems.  You must have a viable open software business monetization model (as I blogged about) when it comes to open source software or you simply can not survive. 

The article states that Bill has been working on green technologies for the past five years for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Venture Capital.