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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:
I suggest that the open-source model is indeed a reliable model for conducting software development for commercial purposes. I will attempt to lay out the preconditions for such a project, what types of projects make sense to pursue in this model, and the steps a company should go through to launch such a project. This essay is intended for companies who either release, sell, and support software commercially, or for technology companies that use a given piece of software as a core component to their business processes.