Over 1997 and 1998, open-source software such as Linux, FreeBSD, Apache, and Perl started to attract widespread attention from a new audience: engineering managers, executives, industry analysts, and investors.
Most of the developers of such software welcomed this attention: not only does it boost the pride of developers, it also allows them to justify their efforts (now increasingly related to their salaried positions) to upper management and their peers.
But this new audience has hard questions:
- Is this really a new way of building software?
- Are each of the successes in open-source software a fluke of circumstance, or is there a repeatable methodology to all this?
- Why on earth would I allocate scarce financial resources to a project where my competitor would get to use the same code, for free?
- How reliant is this whole development model upon the hobbyist hacker or computer science student who just happens to put the right bits together to make something work well?
- Does this threaten or obsolesce my company's current methods for building software and doing business?