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JavaOne 2006: Making Money in Open Source with Active Directory Integration for Roller

Recently, one of the top 3 questions we get is “how do I make money with open source?” All three of us have written and talked plenty about it, and we should be doing at least a series of podcasts on the topic soon. (If you’re interested or have content suggestions, send me an email or leave comments below.)

OSS in the Microsoft Silo

Ironically enough, one area to make money in open source is in integrating open source products with Microsoft. The primary example — which, as James pointed out in a seemingly unrelated email thread about SugarCRM and Microsoft — is Active Directory integration.

While, there are open source toolkits and libraries out there for interfacing with AD and other Microsoft authentication, I’m thinking that quick and easy to install and configure connectors between AD and various open source applications are a chance for companies to bring in revenue. I’m thinking something as easy as a setup.exe or an .msi with a wizard, so much the better. If you threw in compatibility with SMS and other Microsoft silo CCM tools, bravo!

More importantly, customizing those connectors to a companies authentication and authorization services could provide many chances to charge for software.

Roller for Windows

One of the best opportunities on the table now is integrating Roller with Active Directory and other enterprise identity systems. I deployed Roller internally at BMC while I was there, and I’d have loved to have had single sign-on with BMC’s AD domain. As it was, users had to create new accounts to use the blogs.

While James is the most vocal RedMonk about the need for Sun to start productizing and building up revenue with Roller (before IBM does, he always throws in), I’m a huge believer in that idea myself, esp. having been a Roller user, admin, and “owner” at BMC. I’m eager to see this happen because it’ll be a great spike into one way of answering the question, “how do I make money when I write open source software?”

As Sun’s own Simon Phipps would say, you want to monazite your software where the value is. And, though blog software is extremely valuable…there’s a lot of it out there, most of it OSS. The values in blogging software behind-the-firewall are in:

  • [near-]zero configuration
  • ease of use
  • tight integration with the corporate services and network

AD integration is just the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to monatizing on those values, and it’s a great place to start…before IBM does ;>

Disclaimer: Sun, Microsoft, IBM, and BMC are clients.

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Categories: Blogs, Collaborative, Conferences, Enterprise Software, Identity, Open Source.

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2 Responses

  1. In terms of integrating with AD, the same thing can be said for wiki’s. Likewise, the need for blogs and wiki’s within the enterprise doesn’t get you away from the need for authorization so integrating the open source software with entitlements engines provides value…

  2. Yup. That's the case. Single-sign on is an even bigger problem in the full-bore "Enterprise 2.0" world.