Open Source Software Up the Stack

Dennis Byron

Even in open source, "functionality rules"

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Long ago and far away in the infancy of the Internet, research I was doing at the time for McGraw-Hill's Datapro led me to start using the mantra: "Functionality rules!" It probably was a play-on of a saying from some now forgotten TV ad or show. I am assuming that's the case becasue I'm pretty much lost when my boss or the PR department tells me to come with a short sound bite to explain my 100 worksheets of highly cross tabbed and carefully weighted statistics.

I had an interesting phonecon February 14 with Larry Alston, the VP and general manager of Open Source at IONA. I am always happy to find proof points, even non-statistical, that functionality still rules. Add Alston to a list of open-source-software (OSS)-oriented executives we've interviewed here (e.g., Roy Russo and Tom Elrod at LoopFuse, Yves de Montcheuil at Talend, John Newton at Alfresco, and more) that really have a clear understanding of OSS's place in building a software business today. Functionality comes first; open source is a means to an end.

Larry Alston was clear to say that Iona was an "Infrastructure middleware company." That Iona has products developed and marketed with OSS terms and conditions and other products developed and marketed via more traditional terms and conditions is simply a matter of reacting to user needs and wants.

I tried the question another way: "Is Iona a traditional company transitioning to be an open source company?" The answer: "No, Iona is an Infrastructure middleware company." Functionality rules.

Larry has many other interesting opinions and observations about the open source development model and its terms and conditions from a marketing perspective. Like Yves of Talend, he brings a different perspective because of a software career that has spanned stints at Bachman Information Systems, C-bridge Internet Solutions, Object Design/eXcelon (acquired by Progress Software) and, before joining Iona in 2004, Pantero Corporation. We hope to have Larry on an upcoming podcast to hear more about OSS from a business perspective.

Dennis Byron’s blog on open source software: A longtime market research analyst follows what “the movement? means to business integration—in applications, infrastructure, as services, as architecture and as functionality.

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