In 'The Essence of Success' (Overload 82), Alan Griffiths says that, when enhancing an open source project such as Mozilla, it would deliver the same value to a business to use the enhanced version internally as to take the additional cost of getting a submission approved. While I certainly don't want to criticise the overall argument of the article, I'd like to question this particular example, as it would be nice if businesses were encouraged to continue to submit their changes, and I can think of some business benefits of doing so. For one thing, once your code is accepted into the main branch you won't have to keep re-integrating it against newer versions, and if it's part of the whole project then you may later benefit from fixes and enhancements to it that are contributed by others. Also, it results in a tighter quality check on your work, and you might learn something in the process. Finally, there's a bit of publicity to be gained. So I don't think it's true that getting a submission approved will deliver no more value to a business than just using it internally, but this is not a criticism of the article as a whole.
Letter to the Editor
By Silas S. Brown
Overload, 16(83):, February 2008