|mercredi 19 février 2003|
I first saw this last year when Nicolas Pettiaux invited me to an EU meeting on free software. The EU wanted secure mail. The first thought was to put out a call for proposals and fund a new project to write a secure email program.
But the world doesn't want another new email program. And what happens at the end of the contract, when the contractor hands the program to the EU? Do you think they want to manage such a project over the long-term?
Instead, they chose a different path of investment to accomplish their goals. They funded the addition of secure email to Kmail from KDE. They rightly saw that KDE had "made it" and would be around for a long time. Once the feature went into KDE, it would have a long lifespan through the efforts of others. Permanence.
Investing in best-of-breed open source projects, the ones that have
made it past the success-or-failure transition, is the solution. This
is better than starting new open source projects or developing
something internally. Given the bankruptcy rate in business today,
this is a better strategy than many commercial purchases too.