Episode 46

Commercial Open Source with Joseph Jacks


July 24th, 2020

41 mins 54 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode


Eric Berry | Justin Dorfman | Richard Littauer


Joseph Jacks
Founder and General Partner of OSS Capital

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! On today’s episode, we have special guest, Joseph Jacks, Founder of OSS Capital and also works on Open Core Summit, which is a conference he founded as well. Today we discuss with Joseph what he does at OSS Capital, the companies they invest in and how he helps commercial Open Source Companies. We will also find out about what he did at Open Core Summit last year and find out about when and where the next one will take place. Download this episode now to find out more!
[00:01:10] Joseph tells us what he does at OSS Capital. He also tells us what he means by Commercial Open Source.

[00:03:22] Richard and Joseph discuss GitHub and GitLab.

[00:11:29] Justin brings up the business source license which is very controversial, and he wants to know Joseph’s involvement with it.

[00:17:08] Joseph tells us about OSS.cash, the conference he did in 2013 with the spreadsheet data, and how the Open Core Summit went in September 2019, right before COVID hit.

[00:22:49] Eric is fascinated by Joseph’s process and he says it seems like he’s trying to find that brief moment when a project starts to take off, but hasn’t really considered creating a corporation, creating a company to generate money around it. It seems like you’re looking for a unicorn before it grows its horn. Joseph elaborates on this.

[00:26:48] Joseph talks about RISC-V since they are invested in that company. He also tells us other companies they are invested in.

[00:30:36] Joseph explains how commercial offensive software companies are different. Also, he tells us how they help commercial Open Source Companies early on.

[00:37:03] Where can you find Joseph on the Internet, URL’s, or Twitter? Find out here.


  • [00:37:44] Justin’s spotlight is EB.js.
  • [00:38:23] Eric’s spotlight is since Code Fund shut down, he wants to extend his gratitude and say thank you to all the publishers, open source projects, bloggers, application builders, maintainers, and all of them that were within the network.
  • [00:39:32] Richard’s spotlight is scuttlebutt.nz.
  • [00:40:09] Joseph’s spotlight is the Kubernetes project.


[00:04:14] “I tend to think of the companies as slightly different in terms of what they focus on and GitHub has sort of like a Facebook social network feel, you know, huge amounts of people collaborating on public Open Source repos.”

[00:05:18] “And so even though the core, the Open Source core for GitHub is very small, it’s sort of super tiny core, and the crust around that Open Source core is really thick, like basically all of GitHub.com, all this proprietary technology they’ve added around it, I’ve still viewed it as commercial Open Source because that sort of existential definition is still true.”

[00:16:03] “Another one is WSO2 in Sri Lanka. The WSO2 is a company in the middleware kind of category and the enterprise IT world. They sell products for connecting applications and doing messaging integration, integration middleware, SOA software, and business process management, lots of things of this nature.”

[00:19:58] “The spreadsheet motivated starting OSS capital for sure, and also Open Core Summit. I guess the reason is because this thing’s kind of been maintained for going on seven years now I guess, and the growth of this spreadsheet’s been pretty substantial.”

[00:23:15] “Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but it seems like you’re looking for a unicorn before it grows its horn.”


Joseph Jacks Twitter


Open Core Summit Twitter

Open Core Summit

COSS Index




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