Open Source project are primarily ‘community driven’ project that are often lead (but not governed) and supported by the community. While some customers ( primarily individuals and small organizations) have been prompt in adopting these open source projects; a significant section of large enterprises have been reluctant in adopting these projects for their critical engagements. The key concern being lack of dedicated ownership and support that then bank on when the need arises.
This limitation was identified as an opportunity by a few vendors like Alfresco, Liferay, Magneto and RedHat. These vendors have stepped forward and taken change of their respective open source project resulting in the emergence of Commercial Open Source project. While these projects continues to be open source, the development and support effort are governed by the vendor.
With one of the significant concerns addressed, enterprises have started opening up to these commercial open source projects adding to the already steadily growing open source adoption. These projects have Gate Crashed into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant as well as Forester’s Wave – traditionally a party place for the commercial product vendors.
On the down side, this has financial implications – while the projects are freely available to the community for download, the commercial and more stable releases attract an annual support and maintenance cost. But then these costs are not prohibitive and defiantly not for the enterprise.
This is just the beginning, we will witness the rise of many more such commercial open source projects.