Welcome!

Paul Sterne

Subscribe to Paul Sterne: eMailAlertsEmail Alerts
Get Paul Sterne via: homepageHomepage mobileMobile rssRSS facebookFacebook twitterTwitter linkedinLinkedIn


Top Stories by Paul Sterne

Looking at the open source software industry from the outside, it's often difficult to tell what is really going on. To use a string of clichés, it is hard to peel back the onion, to look behind the curtain, to perceive "Das Ding an sich" (German for the "thing-in-itself"; an idea made famous by the last Enlightenment philosopher, Immanuel Kant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant). Part of this perceptual problem may be due to the good old fashioned human tendency toward denial. No one wants to exclaim at the dawn of a new era: "Here comes the new boss, just like the old boss." But unfortunately, perhaps even tragically, any serious inquiry into the business models of the open source industry has to circle back to the same depressing answer: Open source business models don't look much different from the traditional software industry business models. Convers... (more)

SugarCRM - A Sweet Mix of Commercial and Open Source

I've always wondered where the word "oxymoron" came from. What does "oxy" have to do with "moron"? What about the words "commercial" and "open source"; do these words form an oxymoron when combined in one phrase? The open source-based CRM software maker, SugarCRM, has successfully combined these polar opposites and implemented such a "commercial open source" business model. SugarCRM has taken its business model to a new level in that they have combined an enterprise server software sales model with that of a software-as-a-service model. Of course, SugarCRM offers its software for ... (more)

Open Source Business Models Examined

At LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco, it occurred to me that I had overlooked a very important Open Source business model, the Membership Model. Confronted by a keynote speech by Stuart Cohen, the leader of the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) (www.osdl.org), it became clear that I had jumped into the Advertising and Conversion Models too quickly and had to back up and deal with the membership phenomenon. As a businessman, the Advertising and Conversion Models are more interesting, but from a raw power standpoint the Membership Model may be more important. So in the spirit of j... (more)

The Open Source Venture Capital Universe

A rollercoaster - as trite as that image may be - is the right analogy for venture capital investing in open source companies. And what a long, strange trip it's been. Starting in the mid '90s, a few brave pioneers like Benchmark invested in an open alternative to proprietary software and made a fortune. By the end of the decade, everyone wanted a piece of the action. A second wave of VCs rushed in at ridiculous valuations and got their clocks cleaned. In 1999 and 2000, over-capitalized, over-valued open source companies burnt through hundreds of millions of dollars. Shame on th... (more)

Linux.SYS-CON.com: The Conversion Model

The other day my 16-year-old daughter came down the stairs in tears. She was holding the new version of the Scholastic Attitude Test and complaining that it was unfair. Look at this question, Dad. Who could answer a question like this?" I looked at the question and had to agree that it was a tough one: 27. Lamb: wolf;    Open Source Project: ________________? a.  Microsoft b.  Enterprise software vendor c.  419 scammer* d.  Jack Messman (For additional information on 419 scammers, refer to www.419eater.com/html/trophy_room.htm.) "Honey, it has to be A. Everyone knows that Microsoft ... (more)