Video Interview with Bryan Kirschner, Microsoft's Director of Open Source Strategy

Now playing on is a video interview with Bryan, who is Director of Open Source Strategy at Microsoft. I very much respect Bryan as a person and for what he says in the interview. His answers show that he is truly committed and understands the benefits well. Some excerpts:

So it’s really a noticeable trend where open source is clearly a part of the data centre in the IT environment. There are Microsoft technologies that are clearly a part of this.

The trend in the overall market, what we see and hear, all points to pragmatic, case-by-case evaluation of what meets customer needs, how do you combine things in interesting ways, and if you believe that open source has value, that shouldn’t really surprise you, that should just make sense.

Above video only shows the highlights. You can also watch or read the full interview with Bryan.

Fights About Information Flows in Companies Switching to Open Source

I am a big fan of Clay Shirky. He presented “It’s not information overload. It’s filture failure.” at Web 2.0 Expo NY last year – a fabulous speech you should not miss:

Shirky’s talk made Matt Asay think about how filture failure applies to Open Source which again made me realize just how true Shirky’s call for a “mental shift” in organizations applies to companies switching from a proprietary to an Open Source business model.

Such companies face a cultural change related to what Shirky calls “the fight about information flows and access to it”. The reason being that “the Internet allows large systems that are freerider-tolerant” in contrast to the offline-world where “small groups defend theirselves against freeriders”. Proprietary companies is what I’d call a “small group” regarding their mentality, no matter how many employees they actually have. Proprietary software vendors constantly strive to defend themselves against freeriders e.g. with patents and non-permissive licenses. Their partner companies benefit from being a partner because they have better access to information provided by the proprietary ISV.

Now think of a proprietary company leaning towards a FOSS business model, opening up their code and consequently also their communications. This means a lot of change, because communicating about Open Source products is essentially about communicating on the Web, where – as Shirky pointed out – large systems can evolve that are freerider-tolerant. And of course every Open Source vendor wants to have a large community. So, suddenly the gates are open and information is supposed to flow much more freely between the former proprietary software vendor and its community, which just as well includes partner companies.

In such a situation, communication tactics of employees and partner companies will have to change dramatically to sustain a successful Open Source business environment.

Interview with Terrence Barr, Community Advocate, Java Mobile&Embedded Platform

A video interview with Terrence Barr is now available online on where he provides some valuable insights in community building and he points the finger at a dilemma that every OSS business faces related to its community efforts:

We hardly ever can make the case “give us $10,000, we’ll be able to generate X revenue”. That’s just a very difficult equation to make.

Watch the interview with Terrence Barr about building Open Source communities at

Video Interview with Andrew Rodaway, Director of Marketing, Canonical

I very much enjoyed the video interview conducted with Andrew Rodaway, Director of Marketing, Canonical at OSiM.

In that interview, Andrew says:

“A lot of money will come into the open-source movement over the next few years and that drives the marketing agenda.”

He is certainly very right, because at InitMarketing, we experience steady and growing demand for our Open Source marketing services. Although the global economy isn’t in good shape, our customers invest in marketing their Open Source products more than ever.

It really seems that Open Source is doing good in a time of recession and every marketing dollar invested by Open Source vendors in a time where proprietary vendors struggle during an economic downturn is wisely spent because it gets them ahead of proprietary competition.

Watch the interview with Andrew Rodaway about marketing Canonical and Ubuntu at

Video Interview with Stormy Peters, Executive Director, GNOME Foundation

I just published a video interview with Stormy which I recorded at OSiM in Berlin.

Stormy is Executive Director, GNOME Foundation, since July 2008. Working with the Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and the GNOME Foundation members, she helps strengthening the Foundation by attracting new industry members and community contributors.

In this interview she talks about reaching consensus on marketing-related decisions with a community-driven project such as GNOME, how she plans to position GNOME, how to attract more donators, and more.

Find the interview Stormy Peters about Marketing GNOME at

Interview with Boris Kraft, CTO Magnolia

A video interview with Boris Kraft, CTO Magnolia, the Simple Open Source Content Management System, just got published on Boris discusses various aspects of marketing Magnolia.

Here’s an excerpt of the part I find most interesting:

Question: You’re building up the Magnolia office in New York. Is there a difference you realized between how to market your open source product in Europe compared to the US?

Boris Kraft: I think there are many differences. The expectations are different in the US, there are all these images we have in our heads about how the US economy works, about how the consumers are, and a lot of that is actually true. It’s much more hype, marketing is very very important, and the whole process is very fast, so it’s much more hype than substance – that’s my experience so far. So, coming from an European country – like Magnolia International sitting in Switzerland – this is a part where we typically have a very thoughtful way of doing things. We like to produce quality, and it takes longer, this is very difficult for us to deal with: To have this “Swiss mind set” and come to the US and basically clash with the “US mind set”. I kind of have to be there and say “we are the best, we are the greatest, we have everything tomorrow” whereas here we would say “yes, well, actually we can do this, yes” – you know, it’s a very different perception…

You can watch the interview highlights (4:44), the full interview (12:38), or read the transcript of the full interview.

Video Interviews about Open Source Marketing on - Open Source Marketing has just been launched! This is where InitMarketing will publish video interviews with key figures about marketing Open Source software. Currently, there are three interviews available:

  • Bruce Perens, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative
  • Florian Effenberger, Co-lead Marketing Project
  • Oliver Nachtrab, former Product Manager, SUSE, Open-Xchange

More interviews will be published regularly, such as with Andrew Rodaway (Director of Marketing, Canonical), Fabrizio Capobianco (CEO, Funambol), Shane Martin Coughlan (FTF Coordinator, Free Software Foundation Europe), Stormy Peters (Executive Director, Gnome Foundation), Boris Kraft (CTO, Magnolia), and more.

Thanks to all interviewees for great insights and also to Wirawan Harianto for his design work!

Watch the video interviews about Open Source marketing.