The Business of Open Source (or, how we think about it at CoreOS)

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in B201


Peter Levine, a partner at Andreessen-Horowitz, famously said Red Hat would be the last successful OSS business. A dire forecast for the multitudes building their business atop of open source today. This talk is will dive into basic economic theory, how we’ve applied it at CoreOS, and ultimately describe what the current and next generation of open source business looks like.


We’ll explore basic concepts of economic theory like Complementary Markets, the Principal-Agent Problem, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and the Market for Lemons. We’ll then apply these concepts to our experience building open source at CoreOS. This includes projects like Container Linux, Flannel, etcd and more.

We’ll weigh questions like: What projects are good candidates for open source versus proprietary? How does one evaluate the health of an OSS project? What biz models exist beyond “selling support”?

This talk should be interesting to any developer who’s wondered how OSS is funded and why it’s a predominant model.

Speaking experience

#angularnyc 2016: