Carl Schmidt of bodog.com presented a “customer success story” using JBoss software. One of the interesting throw-away comments that he made was that initially their architecture was driven by their licensing fees.
I can easily see how this is true, but when you stop and think about it, that’s pretty unhappy-making. A good architect thinks about all kinds of considerations, including licensing fees, but it’s certainly unfortunate if the licensing fees become one of the most remarkable influencers.
Anyway, that one remark helps cement JBoss’ case for service based licensing. JBoss provides the software for free (which means that licensing shouldn’t influence the architecture), and you pay for the support contracts.
It also strikes me as interesting from the point of view of how market share and sales become uncoupled. JBoss can grow its market share (and hence its influence in the industry) at a different rate than how it grows its sales revenues.
These aren’t original thoughts, but taking a moment to think about them now, I find myself thinking, “Wow, there are implications, here, I haven’t fully thought through.”