CoverI. Intellectual Property1. James Boyle, “The Why of Intellectual Property”2. James Boyle, “Thomas Jefferson Writes a Letter”II. Free Software3. Richard Stallman, “What is Free Software?”4. Richard Stallman, “The GNU Project”III. Open Source5. Eric Raymond, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”6. Eric Raymond, “Homesteading the Noosphere”IV. Open Content7. David Wiley, “About the Open Publication License”8. David Wiley, “Open Content: The First Decade”V. Defining Free9. Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The Four Freedoms Speech”10. Richard Stallman, “Four Freedoms”11. Erik Moller, “Freedom Defined”12. Bruce Perens, “Debian Free Software Guidelines”VI. Defining Open13. Bruce Perens, “The Open Source Definition”14. David Wiley, “Open Content”15. OKFN, “Open Definition”16. David Wiley, “The Access Compromise and the 5th R”17. David Wiley, “Open Definitions, Specificity, and Avoiding Bright Lines”VII. Open Source Software Licenses18. GNU General Public License19. BSD License20. MIT License21. Apache License22. Comparison of Open Source LicensesVIII. Open Content Licenses23. Creative Commons Licenses24. GNU Free Documentation License25. Open Publication LicenseIX. Open CourseWare26. Charles Vest, “Disturbing the Educational Universe: Universities in the Digital Age — Dinosaurs or Prometheans?”27. History of MIT OCW28. MIT OCW Evaluation Report (2005)29. MIT Reaches OCW Milestone30. David Wiley, “OpenCourseWars”X. Open Educational Resources31. UNESCO Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing32. Cape Town Open Education Declaration33. UNESCO, “2012 Paris OER Declaration”34. Wiley, Bliss, and McEwen, “Open Educational Resources: OER Literature Review”35. Boston Consulting Group, “Open Educational Resources: The OER Ecosystem”XI. Open Textbooks36. Nicole Allen, “Open Textbooks: A Cover to Cover Solution: How Open Textbooks are the Path to Affordability”37. Frydenberg and Matkin, “Open Textbooks: Why? What? How? When?”XII. Research in Open Education38. OER Research Hub39. Open Education Group40. Marshall Smith, “Ruminations on Research on OER”XIII. The Economics of Open41. Yochai Benkler, “Coases Penguin, or Linux and The Nature of the Firm”42. Yochai Benkler, “Common Wisdom: Peer Production of Educational Materials”43. Yochai Benkler, “‘Sharing Nicely’: On shareable goods and the emergence of sharing as a modality of economic production”XIV. Open Business Models44. Eric Raymond, “The Magic Cauldron”45. OSI, “Open Source Case for Business”46. Various, “A Summer 2014 Conversation on Business Models in Open Education”

OSI, “Open Source Case for Business”

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Like Eric Raymond’s article, “The Magic Cauldron,” “Open Source Case” analyzes different revenue models for open source companies.  This compliments Raymond’s article by being a little more contemporary and also infuses more a business investor perspective into how companies can leverage the power of open source to their advantage.

Key Points

Businesses should adopt open software because it is safer for the business.  The section “The Reliability Problem” focuses on the proven models that show that open-source is often more reliable and robust than closed-source materials. As businesses focus more on software products and services, they should consider the advantages of taking proprietary software or software products and making them open source.  The advantages of open sourcing include:

More loyal customers with a better product?  It sounds like a pretty good bet for an investor as long as the business has a way of turning these additional strengths into a revenue.  When that happens, investors will provide funds as long as the company provides a return on the investment.  The article reemphasizes models that Eric Raymond explains in his article, “The Magic Cauldron” as possible ways that investors can capitalize on the benefits of strong open-source companies that provide value.

Discussion Questions

  1. What benefits attract investors?  Why is a strong business worth investing in even if it produces products that can be reproduced for free?
  2. Which business model seems the most viable and robust to you?
  3. How do these models relate to the economic theories developed in Benkler’s “Coase’s Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm” ?

Additional Resources

A list of some open-source startups listed in Wired magazine:

Another article addressed to business owners and managers that builds on Eric Raymond’s article “The Magic Cauldron” while adding more arguments for good open-source business practices.  Frank Hecker, “Setting Up Shop”