Posted by: Anonymous Coward
on May 14, 2007 12:34 PM
>> Whatever distinguished Progeny from it's competition (and in this case free competition) could easily be taken away.
Your comment makes little sense. Super proprietary companies get beat out all the time. Since when does brand (a form of IP) and money to scale not matter (to provide for the needed marketing and R&D expenses but have these costs be a modest percentage of revenues)?
Do law firms service proprietary laws? No, yet law firms exist.
There are certain things that even if others could see they could not replicate. Sorry to burst your bubble but progeny proved for whatever reasons they weren't a company to last 5 more years. They proved nothing about FLOSS and business. Red Hat has lasted longer. They are larger for one. They have a different management and engineering team for another. I don't believe that the teams that succeed longest must necessarily be loaded with secrets or rely on proprietary software.
Proprietary IP in non-human items are easier to manage. They won't run off to the competitor or demand more money or fail to function well on some days. It is more of a challenge to manage these, but they are managed all the time. And then, even companies that work with open things (like law firms and Google and Red Hat) keep some secrets -- not that these are required but they make it easier to last more years against tough up and coming hungry young dogs. Essentially almost no companies open up their strategy meetings to the competitors. I am not saying this must be the way, but regardless, it has nothing to do with FLOSS vs closed source software products.
R&D and some other costs many small businesses avoid are born by larger partners (two examples: product based franchises and service providers that service Microsoft products). There is no magic here. Yesterday, partnering with Red Hat gave you more opportunities than partnering with no one and trying to grow Debian. Tomorrow, partnering with Canonical or someone else might be the best way to go and a great way to grow Debian.
FLOSS based businesses are growing while closed source businesses are dropping. FLOSS provides some but not all of the R&D to compete against the closed source competitors.