I was being more subtle really. First off I was violently reacting to the broad claim that "the future of software is services" with
- The proprietary model is alive and kicking
- The future of Open Source Software may be services
I am not losing religion as some commentators have been quick to claim. After all, dudes, I invented Professional Open Source, have you heard of it? No, it is clear that OSS is EVERYWHERE and gaining momentum. But at the same time, from a financial standpoint, the most successful OSS model so far (RHT) is a proprietary distribution of OSS software. That is a lot of open software sold under closed licenses. Please separate the software from the license. Also it is not about peripherals but about the core bits themselves. The second generation of OSS (JBoss/MySQL) has been bought out. I hope someone in the 3rd generation goes public.
At a moment where OSS as a product company (JBoss/MySQL) defined the second generation of OSS and has been rewarded with rich valuation, there is another way OSS as services. But not as "3rd party services, they build the product, we service it" but really services as the core business with products licenses as add-ons (core or 3rd party). "Services from the source" was our slogan back in 2002. We made the transition to a product company, we were lucky and had an exit as a result. I hope many others have this kind of exit but I would not discount, as so many others do, the future of OSS as a consulting business.
Those who build the "Mc Kinsey" of Open Source software, with the legitimacy of the heads of projects, will control the internet's infrastructure. To matt's point, that future is Open, monetized by services, consulting and proprietary products or proprietary distributions of OSS. But let's prove that, collectively, before we go around clamoring that the "end is nigh" for proprietary guys at a time when they fork 1B for one of us.