I've talked before about the close affinity between open source and SaaS, including that SaaS is built using open source, but it's only been this week that it the full import of open source-begets-SaaS came home to me.
Perhaps it was seeing Zimbra and OpenX both announce hosted offerings of their respective open-source email and ad server offerings.
Or perhaps it was my conversation with Bill Kaiser, a friend and Greylock venture capitalist, wherein it seemed that the most interesting new venture opportunities were in SaaS, and that open source has not resolved one of the fundamental problems with enterprise software: it's too complex, too cumbersome, and too Soviet in its design aesthetic.
This thought was underlined by Terry Barbounis, a friend and Christian Science Monitor CTO, who practically gushed about the positive experiences with SaaS offerings like Jive Software's Clearspace he has been having lately.
Open source is a massive upgrade over the proprietary lock-in of incumbent enterprise software solutions. It returns control to customers and makes it easy for them to try software for free and without obligation, as well as to tailor it to their individual needs.
But open source has not gone far enough - at least, as a movement - in addressing the need for software that is easy to pay for and use.
Intriguingly, somewhere in that need open source can be forgotten, as Dusty Davidson of BrightMix, an OpenX customer, unwittingly reveals in endorsing OpenX's hosted version:… Read more