Open Source Benefits Commercial Software Companies

From IT Manager's Journal:

"As open source products first came onto the scene, commercial software companies viewed them with suspicion. Beyond the obvious threat of shrinking revenues, there was the undefined yet frightening-sounding threat of 'viral licensing' -- the ominous, malevolent force that can infect commercial products and transform them into open source.

The menace of viral licensing is enough to reduce a brave, aggressive, earnings guidance-busting CEO to a quivering, impoverished, unrecognizable wreck. (Viral licensing refers to the unfortunate situation in which a proprietary product mutates into an open source product due to inadvertently including some GPL-based code in its source base.)

Recently, however, commercial software companies have taken a second look at the open source world to understand a more positive kind of viral infection: the quick building of a user base made possible by free product downloads.

Software executives and their venture backers have come to understand that the traditional model of software distribution -- direct sales force shock troops pounding down the doors of potential customers -- is irretrievably broken for startups."