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So much of how we build and deliver software has changed, yet so much has stayed the same.

UNIX, the original operating architecture that underpins our modern stack, was introduced 50 years ago. Linux, the dominant server operating system, was introduced 30 years ago. We rely on virtual machines, introduced 20 years ago. We leverage EC2 to serve and scale, launched 15 years ago.

These aging technologies power a $350B enterprise software market, over $1.5T in global infrastructure, and is expected to grow 3x — 4x over the next decade.

The industry saw an evolution from the 1990s with the introduction of apps, 2000s introduced hosting & web apps, and 2010s introduced the cloud and services. A veritable renaissance at the application and platform layers. …

Building a Commercial Open Source Company

In our time investing and supporting open source companies, we’ve learned several lessons about project & community growth, balancing roadmap and priorities, go-to-market strategy, considering various deployment models, and more.

In the spirit of open source, we wanted to share these learnings, organized into a series of posts that we’ll be publishing every week — enjoy!

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1. Solve for the homegrown gap

When developers struggle with deploying an open-source project into their complex internal environments or infrastructures, they build homegrown solutions instead. Solving for key areas turns developer engagement into commercial customers. This means it needs to be as easy and seamless as possible to set up and deploy in order to start demonstrating value. Whether it’s providing Kubernetes operators, specific integrations, CLIs, or UIs, make it dead easy to deploy. …

Since the early 90s, with the emergence of the MIT free software movement and popularity of Linux, there has been an accelerating shift away from proprietary, closed software to open source.

Today the open source ecosystem has over 40M registered users, 2.9M organizations, and 44M projects on Github alone. Just in 2019, 10M new developers joined the GitHub community, contributing to 44M+ repos across the world.

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Open source continues to be the heartbeat of the software community and one of the largest and growing segments of the market by IPO, M&A, and market cap; with new projects emerging well beyond low-level systems to machine learning, data infrastructure, messaging, orchestration, and more. …


Ethan Batraski

Venture Capitalist, Partner @Venrock, writing about software & hard things for developers, space, and modern computing.

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