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Report on the Open Source Meeting in Amsterdam

Thanks to Fred Mobach for
this report.

Yesterday evening we met at the Open Source Meeting in Amsterdam
in the Vondelkerk, once a church. Tim O’Reilly presented a talk on
Successful Business Models for Open Source. He started by telling
his audience of about 50 persons this was his first visit to the
Netherlands. He named it Holland, but that’s a mistake, Holland is
just a small part of the Netherlands located at the shores of the
North Sea. He visited Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, where he
mounted the 465 steps of the highest churchtower in this country,
the DOMtoren (Deus Optimus Maximus).

Then he started on the history of the computer industry. This
industry was until 1980 dominated by hardware vendors which also
supplied their customers with the software they needed. After the
introduction of the IBM pc with his open architecture the hardware
and software were split. Tim spoke about the open standards which
were developped and the Internet servers and browsers based on
them. The closed and propietairy MSN failed because it was not open
and had a much higher barrier to enter than the Internet. When
talking about Open Source he gave credit to Richard Stallman.

Tim told us about companies now making money with Open Source
like MS (who copied a lot of BSD code), the major websites, the
ISP’s like UUNET, the commodity suppliers like Red Hat and
publishers like O’Reilly.

In order to conquer the world it’s not enough to take the server
market (which we has already for an important part) or the desktop
market (which we’ll get within some years) but we need to lead the
next revolution. The former was the Internet and it’s content. This
one will be on infoware and that should be based on open standards
and supported by open source.

But how do you make money in this business. Primary by
delivering support and services, secondairy by selling new
inventions.

The event was organized by Boekhandels Groep Nederland (the
academic bookshop group in the Netherlands) and Roodveldt Import,
which imports lots of ICT books. We had already free speech but
those nice people gave us also free beer (and wine).