Harvard Business Review has published a case study titled ‘Open Source: Salvation or Suicide‘? The focus of the case is a fictitious company that is dealing with the pros and cons of open sourcing their gaming platform. It is great to see Harvard paying attention to open source, however it is somewhat disappointing that the case study is not based on a real company. Surely there are a number of companies that would make great open source case studies?
The case includes four responses, including one by Jonathan Schwartz, who proves he understands open source strategy (I would hope so). However, one response was from an IP lawyer who demonstrated a distinct lack on real-world knowledge with quotes like:
“…, open source code comes from an amporphous community of unknown people, and parts of it are much more likely than homegrown software to have been copied from someone’s proprietary code.”
“Most software companies, however, are in business to make money, and it is very difficult to make money on open source.”
It has been a long time since I have seen such ignorance of open source software. Either this lawyer is hopelessly out of touch or is spreading fud? Either way it is too bad HBR allowed these types of comments to be published in their publication.