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OpenSource Thought Leader and CollabNet Founder Brian Behlendorf (Part 8)

Posted on Sunday, Apr 13th 2008

SM: Let’s focus a bit on the OpenSource universe itself. How do you see the movement changing and what do you see around you that is significant? Take WordPress for example; they just raised a ton of money. I run my website on WordPress and I don’t pay a dime.

BB: What is interesting is they have a software as a service model. When you are using WordPress for free you don’t even have to download it. One trend is that even though software as a service has risen there is still a reason to do things the OpenSource way.

The OpenSource aspect to WordPress has enabled them to have a larger community of people who run things themselves but in return have fixed bugs, have helped with scalability, and have added plug-ins which do lots of interesting things. What started out as a simple blog tool is now a platform. That kind of growth is something that drives interest back to the central provider of the service. That is why at CollabNet, even though our main business is software as a service we drove the Subversion OpenSource project. Lots of people are running Subversion on their own but at a certain point they will ask us to just run it for them. One trend that I see in OpenSource is an increase in web-based software.

SM: Could WordPress use your Subversion tool?

BB: Perhaps in a way, however the blogging software space is more fragmented. There are a lot of different players in the blogging space than there are in a more neutral space. WordPress is not quite a category killer, but it is still interesting to see how it has become a platform for all of these third parties to plug into.

SM: How is WordPress going to make money?

BB: I do not know what their plans are today or down the road but I would imagine that their focus is advertising.

SM: They don’t get any advertising from my site.

BB: Do they put adds on other peoples content? I am pretty sure they do.

SM: In the cases where they are the host they are probably taking some of the advertising dollars.

BB: In our case we did not think, and still don’t, that advertising is enough to support our application. We do have some sites that are public like the Sun site.

SM: Your business is very different. What else do you see in OpenSource?

BB: There is tremendous growth. For every software company today that is getting funding, whether it is a enterprise software or client side software company, you will likely find OpenSource is somewhere in the strategy. If it is not it would be as foolish as launching a company without an Internet strategy. Even a brick and mortar company must have one today.

OpenSource is clearly this disruptive model that ironically has become a standard part of the software development world. The trend today has been funding of companies that go much further up the stack to analytics and ERP software.

This segment is part 8 in the series : OpenSource Thought Leader and CollabNet Founder Brian Behlendorf
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