I recently read on TSS how Iona is rebranding their ServiceMix acquisition. This is what sucks about the Apache model. If you ever want to build a business upon an Apache project, you’d have to spend your own time and money to create your own brand. It begs the question, what did Iona get from purchasing LogicBlaze? Since they are rebranding ServiceMix anyways, why not just hire away great developers like James Strachan instead of ponying up all this money to LogicBlaze’s VCs?

Your only value as an Apache.org based business is your people and your customer list. This is why I would never ever start a project at Apache.org. They own the brand. Its harder for you to cross-sell without competition. Without a strong brand, what incentive does a company have to acquire your business as a whole? Why not just hire away your developers and sales people instead? Its hard enough to build a successful business with a brand, why make it harder by hosting yourself at Apache?

I’m not saying that Apache isn’t a great organization. It is in many respects. But as a OSS developer, you have to really think about the pros and cons before starting up shop there.

If you’re looking for a different opinion, Savio Rodrigues has some great contrary opinions on business effect of the Apache model both on companies and users. You’ll have to dig around in his archives though.