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Fake-Forkers

By John | September 10, 2007

Beware of the Fake Forkers. The VC’s have been chomping at the bit for 10 years in anticipation of IT’s next big bubble. Well, hold on, boys. She’s a-comin’ round the mountain in 2008, a tipping point for this next bubble. You know that, as we speak, thousands of startups are creating projects in college dorm rooms (sound familiar?). They have read the sign-posts: XenSource selling for$ ½ billion with product revenue less than $3 million and JBOSS’s similar situation last year. Also, for the first time, you are hearing about open source startups going public (e.g., SugerCRM). Just six months ago, you would have been laughed out of any normal conversation if you suggested an IPO as an exit strategy for an OSS startup, but a friend of mine recently told me that VC’s are giving money away like water to anyone who can spell OSS.

In the last ten years, some brilliant developers have been pounding out great GPL code and serving this emerging community very well. What we might see in 2008 is a slew of Johnny-come-lately dot-forkers. These startups will fork some project’s community based on their own hard work, and they’ll excite some uninformed get-rich-quick VC’s. In fact, a few such startups are already out there (but enough about Groundwork). These companies will probably be the first casualties in this new (yet-to-be-named) bubble, but hopefully, after the untimely demises of these dot-forkers, the real value-add vendors will sustain and start to shine their way through the muck. Spotting these Johnny-come-lately dot-forkers should be made easy by looking at two factors:

How they are funded

and

The composition of their community.

Topics: 451, OSS, caos, esm, groundwork, groundworkopensource, hyperic, nagios, opennms, opensource, puppet, zabbix, zenoss | No Comments »

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