Don Park on OSAF

Everyone's all abuzz about Mitch Kapor's new non-profit venture, the Open Source Applications Foundation. Don Park has a critical take on the OSAF from the perspective of a proprietary software vendor. He says, "Every time a new OSAF product ships, a market segment will die." Be sure to check out the comments, too.

I've criticized Don's stance on free software before. I just don't understand it, particularly in this case. There is no market for PIM software, because Microsoft crushed all its competition with format lock in and monopoly power. Even if OSAF burns the commerical PIM market to the ground, as Don believes, they're leaving their formats and APIs open so companies and individuals can build killer apps on top of that datastore (much like what is happening with Apple's new addressbook).

What excites me about OSAF is what happens next. Kapor is putting up $5 million dollars of his own money for this venture. He expects it to be self-supporting by 2005. If this is true, OSAF could become one of the dynamos of open source software creation, filling in the gaps and bringing open source software over the last hurdles to widespread acceptance. Exciting times.