As Snapfix has evolved into a more sophisticated service we have begun to develop an Open API service to cater to 3rd party software developers that wish to leverage the Snapfix platform. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Open API approach we’ve developed the latest two Snapfix features using the Open API approach (our Snapboard and Email services).

Adoption of open-source services presents some technical challenges, but the key to success, in my opinion, is not in understanding the technicalities, but rather in understanding the Open Source Software (OSS) Ideology and the challenges of Commercial OSS Adoption and Innovation. Commercialization of OSS requires careful consideration. Choice of software license, balance of open and private communication, level of commitment and balance of power over the OSS project are important factors when managing the boundary between the firm and the OSS community. The level of adoption of OSS Ideology will influence Snapfix' success in leveraging Open Source.

I’ve gathered up some of my research and blog posts regarding OSS and they are contained in this section. As well as the points mentioned in the previous paragraph, I’ve also spent some time looking into OSS from the Open Innovation perspective. There has been a lot of discussion within OSS circles concerning aspects of the OSS business model on OSS Value Creation and Capture but a lack of coverage of Value Delivery, which in my opinion is of equal importance.

There are risks and side effects that accompany OSS adoption. For example, contributors level of devotion to the OSS project can sometimes overshadow the needs of the business. There is also a risk of reverting to closed communications and opaque practices post adoption and I’ve noted that organizations rarely take these matters into consideration when developing open-source software.

In the next post I give a general overview of Open Source and then delve deeper into the differences between Open Source Software and Free Software which gets to the heart of Open Source Ideology.

I then shift more towards a commercial focus and consider how Open Source can accelerate innovation within Snapfix. Finally I consider how Open Source can be integrated into the SaaS business model through the lens of value creation, capture and delivery and give an example of SaaS companies already embracing Open Source.

Next: An Overview of Open Source Ideology