Open Source TNG

My three readers of this blog know that I’m pretty particular about the use of the the term “open source“. It’s not that I’m an open source zealot, but the term has a specific meaning that has been diluted over the last couple of years. Since the value of OpenNMS is nicely summed up with “open source” I am loathe to allow its meaning to be changed.

It is with some pleasure that I’ve noticed that one of the fauxpen source companies in the management space, Zenoss, has made some subtle changes to their corporate message over the last few months.

From a press release last April, which leads:

Zenoss Inc., the leading commercial open source network and systems management provider

Note the prominent use of the term “open source”.

Now flash forward to June:

Zenoss Inc., the fastest-growing alternative to the “Big 4” for enterprise network and systems monitoring

While the term “open source” still appears throughout the press release, there is much less emphasis on it.

Today, this came through my reader:

Zenoss Inc., provider of the next generation alternative to legacy enterprise IT operations management solutions

Note that “open source” was only used once in the main article.

I take this as a good sign. I’ve never really had a problem with the “open core” business model – I think that all commercial software will move to this model eventually – but I hate it being called “open source” for a variety of reasons I won’t repeat here.

I do have to wonder what is driving this change. Could it be that they are finding less traction with the term “open source” in the marketplace? Could it be a backlash from open source advocates who explore their product only to find out that they have to pay high per node prices for the “real” software? Or could it be pressure from the VCs to start making serious bank as the five year window is closing rapidly?

In any case, with all of the marketing money these companies have you would think they could build on the the “open core” brand without having to degrade ours. They still have “open source” all over their website, but I am hoping this is the start of a move toward something a little more legitimate.