When big companies release new software, they launch it with lots of hoopla: press tours, technical conferences, free T-shirts. Open-source projects, even the well-known ones, generally release their major new versions with a lot less fanfare. The FOSS (free and open-source software) community is often too busy coding and testing to bother with marketing, even when the new "point release" of the software is really remarkable.
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If 2008 had a buzzword, it was probably "community." More and more companies are looking to tap into communities for contributions to open source projects. But following the open-source trend just because everyone is doing it isn't good enough. To succeed, you need a well-thought-out community plan that details exactly what your organization needs and wants from its community, and how it can achieve those goals. And you need to do so without raising the ire of the free and open-source software (FOSS) community.
Six-year-old BlueStar Energy Services doesn't have the kind of systems-baggage that saddles many older organizations. Still, the company found itself hindered by the rigidity of its core systems, which constrained its efforts to expand its customer base and offer new services.