Everything open source
May 16–17, 2016: Training & Tutorials
May 18–19, 2016: Conference
Austin, TX

The truth about open source businesses: Confessions from an ex-open sourceror

Matt Asay (AWS)
4:20pm–5:00pm Thursday, 05/19/2016
Business of OSS
Location: Meeting Room 9 A/B Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 5 ratings)

From the outside, open source companies try to appear to be Fine Upstanding Open Source Citizens™. On the inside of the sausage factory, however, hard decisions and trade-offs are constantly being made. After nearly 15 years of working for some of the industry’s best-known open source companies, including MongoDB and Canonical, Matt Asay decided to go to work for a company that uses and contributes to open source communities but doesn’t rely on them for revenue.

Matt describes the fundamental struggles every open source business has and explores how different companies have dealt with them (e.g., which features will be open vs. closed, which license to use, etc.). Matt also details why he decided to move on and why maybe you should consider doing so too.

Photo of Matt Asay

Matt Asay


Matt Asay is a principal at AWS, helping to drive the company’s open source strategy, among other things. Prior to AWS, Matt managed Adobe’s developer ecosystem initiatives. Previously, Matt was Adobe’s vice president of mobile strategy and held a range of roles at open source companies, including vice president of business development, marketing, and community at big data database company MongoDB; vice president of business development at real-time analytics company Nodeable (acquired by Appcelerator); vice president of business development and interim CEO at mobile HTML5 startup Strobe (acquired by Facebook); COO at leading Linux and cloud vendor Canonical; and head of the Americas at content management startup Alfresco (acquired by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee). Matt is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and holds a JD from Stanford, where he focused on open source and other IP licensing issues. He writes regular columns for the Register, TechRepublic, and InfoWorld.