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Open Source Business Models

Open Source and Free Software are driven by a belief in openness, the strengths of community, the commitment to sharing and volunteer effort. Yet modern capitalist societies are primarily organized around firms that need sustainable revenue models to generate the cash flow to pay employees and in most cases generate returns for investors and shareholders.

This session brings together leading practitioners and thinkers to present and debate philosophies and specific approaches to sustainable Open Source and Free Software business models.

8:30 - 8:35 Dwight Wainman - Opening remarks
As Business Providers, the first four speakers will present and critique their organization's specific business model with respect "open source" software and services.

8:35 - 8:55 Robert Young - From the perspective of Red Hat, a large successful "open source" software and service company since inception.

9:00 - 9:20 Matt Asay - From the perspective of Novell - a large software public company that is transitioning from a "closed source" model to a "mixed source" model.

9:25 - 9:45 Dr. David Ascher - From the perspective of ActiveState and Sophos, who, as a newly combined private company, provide software and services that leverage open source technologies; ActiveState with programming tools for the open source developer community, and Sophos with anti-virus and anti-spam solutions for business.

9:50 - 10:10 Jason Matusow - Microsoft has been actively making source code available to customers and constituent communities via the Shared Source Initiative for over 3 years now and today the Shared Source community has grown to 1 million participants. Through the Shared Source Initiative, Microsoft is making source code broadly available while preserving the intellectual property rights that have sustained innovation and growth throughout the software industry.

10:15 - 10:45 - Break

As Users, the next two presenters will outline the impact on user of Open Source and Free Software.

10:45 - 11:05 Evan Leibovitch - From the perspective of the needs and requirements of individual users and corporate users.

11:10 - 11:30 Evan Bauer - From the perspective of enterprise technology solutions for both public and private sector organizations.

After the above presentations, a panel and question period will focus on questions including: What are successful business models for Open Source developers? What business models have failed and why? What do customers need so that they can adopt and rely upon Open Source software? How do licensing models impact business models?

11:35 - 12:30 Open Forum (all participants, including Dwight Wainman and Dr. Ron Baecker)


Matt Asay has spent most of his professional life trying to conceive novel ways to monetize open source software. Asay was previously co-manager of Mitsui's investment in Cobalt, a successful Linux-based microserver startup, and then GM of embedded-Linux startup Lineo's Residential Gateway business. He is now at Novell, where he is responsible for laying the strategic and business foundation for Novell's open source strategy, especially the Mono project. Asay holds a juris doctorate from Stanford, where he worked with Larry Lessig on studying software licensing and innovation, especially the GPL.

Dr. David Ascher is Chief Technologist for ActiveState, the leading provider of software solutions that increase developer productivity and organizational efficiency through the innovative use of open source technology. Ascher, a Python book author and a director of the Python Software Foundation, has extensive technical and business experience integrating open source projects such as Python and Mozilla into successful commercial products.

Evan Bauer is an independent consultant advising both public and private sector organizations on technology innovation. Evan also serves as a Principal Research Fellow with the Robert Frances Group, "Business Advisors to IT Executives", where he focuses on enterprise technology strategy, including the introduction of Linux and other open source technologies into major organizations, and technology risk assessment and mitigation. He was previously Chief Technology Officer for Global Technology Infrastructure at Credit Suisse First Boston.

Evan Leibovitch is currently President, the Linux Professional Institute www.lpi.org. He has been working with Unix and Linux on PC systems for almost 20 years. Most recently, he served as Vice-President, Business Development for Starnix Inc., Canada's leading Linux support and Services Company. Prior to Starnix, he played a strategic consultant role on Open Systems and Open Source issues to many organizations. He has also written analyses of the Unix and Linux marketplace for publications such as ZDNet and IEEE.

Jason Matusow is Manager, Shared Source Initiative, Microsoft Corporation As the person responsible for establishing a company-wide framework for Microsoft's global source licensing strategy, he consults with governments, corporations, academics and analysts on software intellectual property issues. Matusow has worked in both technical and policy positions in the software industry for 10 years, was the founding member of the Microsoft Year 2000 team, and has been with the company since 1995.

Robert F. (Bob) Young, a University of Toronto graduate, spent twenty years in the computer leasing business before co-founding Red Hat Software in 1994 and becoming a leading spokesperson for open source software and Linux. Since stepping down as CEO of Red Hat, Bob has founded The Center for the Public Domain, a non-profit foundation that supports the growth of a healthy and robust public domain, and Lulu.com, an author-controlled alternative to conventional publishing. He recently took up football, having purchased the Hamilton Tiger Cats in October 2003.