BOSTON -- Open source startups are changing the rules of the traditional enterprise software market. At least that's what a panel made up of MySQL, JBoss, SugarCRM and XenSource heads and moderated by VA Software chairman Larry Augustin was happy to proclaim loudly and clearly at a LinuxWorld session here this week.
John Roberts, CEO and co-founder of open source CRM vendor SugarCRM, asked rhetorically whether spending most of an enterprise software vendor's money on product marketing, as is usually the case, is the right way to go. Roberts argued that open source provides a more efficient model for software that costs less.
Peter Levine, the new CEO of XenSource chimed in that it was mind boggling to him how much attention Xen has gotten without spending any money on sales or marketing.
"Here we are, a small company, and it's amazing to me how visible the brand and the technology are," Levine said.
Brand alone isn't enough to pay the bills for an open source company.
Marc Fleury founder and CEO of JBoss commented that open source has significantly lowered barriers to how customer sales cycles work. With open source, customers simply download the applicant and they try it out.
MySQL CEO Marten Mickos noted, however, that you still have to close the deal.
MySQL 5 has had approximately 50,000 downloads a day since its release, which presents a particular problem when it comes to leads and lead qualification.