The past week has seen a couple of articles about Lucid Imagination and Open Source, both making energetic arguments around business models for open source.
Ashlee Vance’s memorable “boil-in-a-bag” metaphor in the New York Times pays something of a backhanded compliment to our roster of open source leadership. Nominally, by cornering the market on these guys (which for me personally is just cornering the market on fun, because they’re really a joy to work with) puts more wood behind the arrow of Lucene and Solr innovation. Because they can find a lot of smart guys at one company, businesses can target more powerful search at the compelling problem of getting the right information to the right people in timely fashion — at lower cost and less risk.
Dana Blankenhorn’s vigorous defense of the disruptive value of marrying business model and open source reassuringly explains that it’s not as easy as boiling vegetables in the bag, or even microwaving them (food analogies, not so reassuring). No question in our minds that the “two arms” create a virtuous cycle, creating new opportunities for the community as well as the marketplace. Indeed, a great part of the successful alchemy is in mixing the free-wheeling innovation of community open source with the time-driven, structured needs of day-to-day enterprise economics.
But there’s a third level to this argument, and that’s in the synthesis that search requires to be successful. Our technical team is a careful blend of open source and enterprise search talent. For the enterprise, the heart of search is in aligning the rich diversity of content and data types with timely end-user value; we use our blended skillset to make the technology better suited to that enterprise context of time and value. As Tim Bray noted earlier this week, big enterprise technology isn’t doing so well with time and value, despite the massive resources and blue suits at its disposal. (It’s worth noting that Tim’s point about outsourcing handicaps may already be taking hold in search at telecoms; AT&T is not the only telecom working with Lucid Imagination and Solr to win competitive advantage).
With Lucene and Solr, there’s no appointment necessary with a blue suit to get started. Download the Lucidworks Certified Distribution for Solr 1.4, consult the reference guide either in the free e-book or integrated with the community resources in our online search, or drop us a line to help you get started. That’s the business of open source search: getting your content to your people quickly and efficiently. And once you’re ready for business, we’re here to help.