The Bee Keeper analogy as an explanation of professional FOSS

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James Dixon, the CTO of Pentaho, has published a paper called "The Bee Keeper" that explains the relationship between professional open source software vendors and their communities. The paper uses the analogy of the Bee Keeper to explain the model. Matthew Aslett from the 451 Group summarizes the analogy as follows: "the vendor is the bee keeper; the community is the bees; the open source project is the honey; and the customer is after processed honey (supported open source software). In order to be successful the bee keeper must satisfy the customers but also the bees, to ensure that they do not leave the hive, or sting him." While the model explains in a nice way how some commercial FOSS vendors work, such as MySQL, Pentaho, JBoss and Alfresco, the analogy does not work for all commercial FOSS projects.

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