JBOSS: The Evolution of Professional Open Source Software
Richard T. Watson, Donald Wynn, Marie-Claude Boudreau
Over the past five years, JBoss has evolved from a failed dot.com-era startup to the market leader in the J2EE application server market. In the process, it has developed a business model based on the notion of Professional Open Source (POS) and built an ecosystem to support company growth. This article uses two established frameworks to describe the growth of JBoss and its associated ecosystem. It also explores the four strategic risks that face every firm: demand risk, innovation risk, inefficiency risk, and scale risk. We believe the emergence of POS has eight lessons for IS leaders: (1) the cost of running an IS unit will decline, (2) software innovation and quality should improve, (3) benign POS monopolies might emerge, (4) IS units might become less dependent on a single POS support provider, (5) POS will escalate, (6) IS leaders will experience pressures from outside the IS unit to adopt POS, (7) IS units will develop an open source strategy, and (8) traditional software companies will be forced to adapt.
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