It is often argued that companies have to work with the FOSS community and there are good reasons for doing so. I've tried to collect a number of case stories of good and bad community interaction that may help as a starting point for further exploration of this topic:
- NVidia is probably the best example of a company that is not interested in providing open source drivers for their graphics chips. There are lots of folks who won't buy hardware with NVidia chips for this reason. Intel is the number 1 choice at the moment because they work closely with the community. Related to this, the Linux Foundation and kernel community released a statement regarding open drivers.
- When Sun finally made Java available as open source, they argued that it would help inclusion and distribution of Java (e.g. inclusion into Debian). Sun also felt that the GPL provides the strongest protection "against misbehaviour by monopolists in the Java platform".
- The Novell/Microsoft deal was not perceived well by the community, which led to web sites like http://boycottnovell.com
- Nokia recently had an insightful blog posting about the problems when nobody knows about the open source contributions you make: for example, you cannot influence decisions in a project as easily.
- Sun is often criticized for dominating all open source projects they run. They can be used as a good example that you have to give up some control in order to get outside participation.
- The fact that Xen is not in the mainline kernel is a key reason why a number of companies (e.g. IBM, Red Hat) are looking at KVM (which is in the mainline kernel and actively developed in the community). In fact, "looking" is probably not the best word. IBM is actively working on KVM to make it a viable solution and Red Hat recently acquired Qumranet, the company behind KVM.
- Oracle got fairly bad press for copying the Red Hat distribution and changing Red Hat to Oracle, without engaging in the Red Hat community.
- There's a paper that looks at "empirical evidence on the incentives of firms that engage in OS activities". They look at 146 Italian companies supplying open source solutions, but unfortunately the study doesn't include any major company.
Can you think of other examples?
(Originally published on FOSSBazaar where comments are possible)