March 10, 1999

Summit Highlights Business Case for Open Source

SEBASTOPOL, CA--Open Source software has reached critical mass. Long the favorite software development model of the programming elite, Open Source™ is now a credible technology option for any business. "Open Source is a business decision that makes sense" was the consensus of the nearly 50 leading Open Source developers and businesspeople who gathered on March 5 for the Second Open Source and Community Licensing Summit hosted by O'Reilly & Associates. A list of participants is below, and bios of most participants are at http://press.oreilly.com/pub/pr/835.

At O'Reilly's first Open Source Summit, in April 1998, participants-- all major free software developers--adopted the term "Open Source." The focus was on spreading the word about the importance and value of open-source software beyond the developer community. Since then, the spectacular growth of Linux, IBM's incorporation of the Apache Web Server into its WebSphere product, and the success of new companies based on open-source technology (such as Sendmail, Inc., ActiveState Tool Corp. and Scriptics Corp.) have caused the business world to sit up and take notice of Open Source.

This year, Summit participants addressed the business and technology issues that face the Open Source community as it tackles the challenges of success. On the business front, there was a consensus among the developers and corporate representatives that use of open-source software is strong and growing. Customer demand is driving corporations' adoption of Linux and other open-source software. Summit participants challenged industry analysts to provide their corporate clients with data on the benefits and Total Cost of Ownership of open-source solutions.

In the discussion of technical issues, the group took concrete steps towards developing a shared vision of best practices for open-source development. Discussion centered around the question, "What is the science of Open Source development?" Participants agreed that it is appropriate and desirable for businesses to handle support issues as open-source technologies scale. This is happening already in the Linux arena, where the Linux distributors are handling bug tracking. The group also debated the merits of tools to support the distributed, collaborative development process at the heart of Open Source, such as CVS (Code Versioning System) and bug tracking systems. Participants committed to working together to promote the benefits of Open Source software and support the Open Source developer community.

Host Tim O'Reilly, President and CEO of O'Reilly & Associates, noted, "Today was the first time that people from the developer community and the corporate world sat down together to hash out how Open Source can work for both of them. Before the Summit, we weren't sure how far their interests could mesh, but we found a surprising degree of compatibility. Open Source has support on both sides of the fence that should build the momentum of the last year and increase its use and influence."

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Open Source and Community Licensing Summit Attendees & Affiliations

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