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Teach a man how to fish and you'll sell him your fishing equipment for the next five years

Posted by kirillcool on February 15, 2006 at 12:24 AM PST

Yesterday BEA has announced that the recently purchased SolarMetric's Kodo persistence engine will be open-source and available under Apache license. Hurray, you think, especially in view of statements such as "Right now, the focus is on supporting the JDO 2 specification and the EJB 3 Persistence specification and offering customers interoperability between the two specs. Both of these specifications are very close to being submitted to the JCP for final approval, and we would very much like to be right on the heels of the approvals with GA versions of Kodo and Open JPA." The one sentence shouldn't escape you, though - "We are not open sourcing the code related to JDO and JDO 2 as this will continue to be available for purchase from BEA Systems." (the bold is by me).

And that has been the recent trend lately (I talked about Eclipse being the milk cow for board members about half a year ago) - give something basic for free (like JRockit VM) and charge for the tools. In BEA's marketing lingo it's called "blended" development (part open-source, part "give your top dollar to us now") - i wonder what happened to "liquid" (it hasn't been a year since it was announced at JavaOne 2005). And it's not only the big companies such as BEA or IBM. You can go from JBoss to JGraph and from JGoodies to Synthetica.

Don't get me wrong - everybody has to eat, and everybody wants to make an extra on top of that. It's just that the marketing shows you only one side of the deal before you get hooked too deep. Karl Marx once said - "Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity". I guess we are seeing an emergence of a new business model in IT world - "Try to sell a man a fish, he goes Googling for free fish, teach a man how to fish, you'll sell him your fishing equipment for the next five years".