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Discussion on: I'm Joseph Jacks, founder of OSS Capital, ask me anything!

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Joseph Jacks Ask Me Anything

It is never fun to reflect on the failure cases, but they do exist. I think failure in the case of open source really boils down to adoption: if no one uses the project it is "dead". This does not mean that the code ceases to be executable, hosted, available and even perhaps depended on by some other library or service or system or application.. somewhere.. out there in the ether.

On COSS side, a given COSS company can "fail" by running out of capital, ceasing to find a business model that works, dysfunctional teams, executing in a bad market.. many of the same reasons proprietary / closed core companies fail.

In the more nuanced context, I think COSS companies in failure happen because the lack of developer communities. COSS largely thrives in areas where the developer ecosystem around a given platform/product/layer in the stack is developer friendly/active/vibrant... where it is not, there is a higher likelihood of failure, IMHO. There are many exceptions to this, but in general, I'd say this is largely the case.