|Summary||Strategic cooperation whereby different projects, groups or communities, while each operating independently, agree to collaborate and evolve an ecosystem collectively. They anticipate each other’s needs, align roadmaps, features, etc.|
|Keywords||Ecosystem, Strategy, Partnership, Collaboration|
|FSDL position||Ecosystem / Strategic alliance|
“I was having a showerthought this morning… a commercial company wants to benefit from OSS, so they create an open core model. It is a bad model, for reasons that aren’t important here. I was thinking in a free software context, where people want earn a decent living, have a sustainable business, the equivalent could be a open ecosystem model. A strategic community-led partnership where all participants benefit.”
@Ryuno-Ki mentioned Business models for open-source software - Wikipedia but this does not describe such an alliance.
What sustainable business models the alliance participants choose is up to them. There can be rules for that though, such that everyone feels comfortable to collaborate (and coopetition is also an option). Like adhering to FOSS culture and shared values.
Ecosystem opportunities can be, among others:
- Solution provider
- Tool vendor
- Implementation partner
- Consultancy, training
- Hosting provider
And participants can decide to:
- Specialize ➞ Vertical supply chain
- Diversify ➞ Explore new domains
Participants try to maximize the benefits of their collaboration:
- “I build this feature first, so that ProjectX can align their work with it. I’ll later benefit from ProjectX’s feature FooBar.”
- “I will encourage this UX designer to work on ProjectY so it gets more popular, and the ecosystem as a whole more attractive.”
- “We will use the same communication tools, so it is as easy as possible for contributors to chime in where they want.”
- “We will feature each other’s work and progress in advocacy, project marketing and PR.”
Taking another comment from chat:
With open ecosystem I was in particular thinking of the FSDL and how forge federation relates, whereby current projects can only deal with a tiny fraction of the visionary scope. But if they were in a strategic cooperation there might be a lot of synergy and speeding up of ecosystem evolution.
If you have 10 independent forge federation projects, they might choose the features they build on their own decision, rather randomly whatever individual projects prefer. But in a strategic setting they’d do it so it strengthens the next project and the next, etc.
They might all adjust their roadmaps to align in the best way possible to the other projects in the ecosystem.