"There's a larger context here. Traditional open-source
companies like VA Linux, Caldera and CollabNet are starting to sell
closed-source products as a matter of business strategy. They are
all also survivors of a dot-com boom and crash that invites us to
rethink the overfunded assumptions we had about making money with
Linux while the sun shined. "How do you make money with open
source?" is still a wide-open question.
The question here isn't just about companies. It's about
individual programmers who contribute to helping open-source
projects like Jabber make it. Should they get rewarded financially
for their otherwise voluntary efforts, above and beyond the systems
(such as they are) that we have today? How?
Here's another way of asking the question. What are the ways
open-source developers can scratch a customer's itch? And in doing
so, what can open-source developers bring to the larger bazaar we
call a marketplace? I think it's a lot, and we've barely