Jay Hoffmann

Books, movies, and code

Death of an Open Source Business Model

Mapbox found themselves in a similar position to Mongo and Redis: they were subsidizing R&D for a handful of trillion-dollar tech giants.

In the Death of an Open Source Business Model, Joe Morrison laments at the new licensing restrictions of Mapbox, a reversal from the company’s previous business model, which he labels as “open core” (a free version of the software with paid propietary add-ons).

Mapbox was forced into the position in an attmept to to block its use as a comercial product by cloud vendors like Amazon and Microsoft. It has followed a similar, if not slightly more permissive, route as MongoDB and Redis, who were forced to create unique licenses for some of their product offerings specifically to end the efforts of corporate competitors.Cloud killed open core.

Cloud killed open core.

Morrison’s conclusion is that this type of open source software can not exist alongside cloud infastructure that allows any software package to be commoditized and widely distirbuted with little effort. I disagree. It was not the cloud that killed open core. The cloud is simply servers. It was the companies that have decided to raze open source to the ground without any thought of long term consequences or community growth. It was a calculated move driven only by short-term profit gains. Cloud didn’t kill open core. Capitalism did.