Collaborative Software Initiative

Former OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen Launches Company Targeting Enterprise IT With Open Source Development Approach . This was in the press a couple of days ago. You can read more about the approach and company at the CSI site.

The idea behind this is that CSI will bring together companies with similar interests to participate in joint product development that are of mutual interest. CSI will mange the process and install or deploy the final project wherever required with the idea that using a joint Open Source development methodology will greatly reduce the cost and time to market for the participating companies.

They are targeting the financial services industry. This isn’t a bad idea on the surface as the financial services industry probably has thousands of projects at any given time that could potentially be a fit.

Getting them to do it may be another issue all together. The financial services industry’s products and services, and differentiators, turn out to be informational based and supported by very proprietary software solutions. This is of such significance that it is often difficult to get people to share software cubical to cubical, let alone company to company.

On the infrastructure side, where there are common problems to be solved, there are other issues. Take for example, packages like Bloomberg Market Data. The financial services community would love to build a solution to get that monkey off their back.

Maybe CSI could get them together. The problem that they’ll face is the same problem that all OSS products face. There’s a lot more to building a successful product solution that just development. There are the long term support issues that go along with any successful product. I’m not sure this community is really willing to take on those type committments.

My sense is this will be a really tough sell all the way around. Far tougher that having a company take on and deliver an OSS project for just one FS company at a time. There are a number of companies doing this today quite successfully.

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