Open Source "Business" Models

I’ve read a number of articles and blog entires over the weekend talking about different [ open source business models]. Most of them seem to focus on how a single businesses can make money from open source, for example [ Greenplum] and it’s Bizgress MPP. The other angle I’ve seen, most likely spurred on by [ Oracles recent acquisitions], is the idea of [ open source projects looking for a corporate entity to sell themselves to], and with that getting the monetary backing they need to accelerate growth within their project. Now I imagine that all of this talk is probably a good thing, since it will probably lead to fostering more open source development, but the thing that I don’t like is that it severely overlooks what I think should be the preferred model for getting business support in your open source project; which is the conglomerate of business sponsors. PostgreSQL is of course a shining, if not the prime example, of this model. Of our six core members, none are employed by the same company. Of the six, three don’t even work for companies where PostgreSQL is the core business. Sure, a company like Afilias might use PostgreSQL in it’s core business, and it’s future might be tied to the success of PostgreSQL, but at it’s core they are a [ registry services company], not a database vendor or database support company. But it doesn’t stop there, of the 26 developers listed on our “Major Developers” list, only two work for the same company ([ Command Prompt]). The reason this is such a good thing for an open source project is that it helps to develop an extremely multi-faceted community for development. If you cut off one or more heads, there a dozens more left standing. As much as the business’s who use PostgreSQL benefit from having multiple support avenues, the project benefits from having multiple “revenue streams”, where the revenue is developer time and infrastructure support. I think we need to see more encouragement of this model within open source projects and the open source community. There are a number of examples of this type of model, FreeBSD is the classic example, but [ Ruby On Rails] also thriving under this model (11 core team members employed by 7 different companies). The [ Joomla team] is another one (24 members, 19 companies), which was [ born] out of a problem with the aforementioned “business owns the project” model. I know there are others, what’s your favorite example?