It was hard to miss a couple of announcements yesterday. (especially for an ex-Sun guy). The first was news that the Apache Software Foundation is launching a project to build a Java platform, specifically J2SE. The second is that IBM announced that they will acquire Gluecode. Gluecode is based on the Apache Geronimo application server and is one of serveral companies that are in business to provide a more "enterprise-ready" package of open source projects.
All of this points more clearly than ever to the future of the software industry. Even IBM, which has a huge vested interest in Websphere, is taking the leap into the new business model represented by Gluecode. My reading is that that business model looks more and more like becoming a card-carrying community member (ie, contributions etc) coupled with the requirement to add-value continuously thru support and services. For customers, this represents the best of both worlds, more transparency of the code itself, less possibility of being locked in with a single vendor, and at the same time, the possibility of real support and services.
From the perspective of our business, the news points to more and more awareness of intellectual property rights and the need to manage them responsibly. Software will have many authors, and come with multiple types of licenses. Both software companies and users will need an Intellectual Property policy and means to audit.