Thursday, May 22, 2008

Open Source as a form of branding?

It occurred to me that Open Source software is a form of branding. People tend to have certain associations with the label "open source" similar to the associations that are carried with a brand.

In the case of open source software, these associations might be positive or negative, things like "free", "flexible", "hard to use", "unsupported", "community supported", "dynamic and growing", "unstable", "secure", etc. These associations are contrasted with associations that people might have about commercial software, like "supported", "easy to install/use", "greedy", "unresponsive", etc. Commercial software companies recognize this, and try to strengthen the perception of their brand vs. the open-source "brand".

What do you all think of this?

I did a bit of research, and came across something entirely different:

Apparently some people are promoting open-source brands, in which consumers help define the brand image itself. Interesting stuff.