Follow the money!

by Kevin Shockey

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At this year's Open Source Business Conference, Geoffery Moore will pronounce that open source has crossed the chasm. Since I haven't had the privilege of hearing what he will use as proof of this conclusion, I'll reserve my judgment. I hope Doug Kaye over at IT Conversations covers the OSBC this year just in case I can't make it. Recall that technologies begin in the early market, but must cross a chasm before joining the mainstream market and receiving widespread acceptance.

I will share something I've been watching closely for the last year. I've been on the alert for any venture capital deal, that involves a company related to open source. A few that you might already be aware of are JBoss, MySQL, and GlueCode to name just a few. The latest to join their ranks is Medsphere Systems Corporation. My belief is that tracking the flow of venture capital money into these companies will signal how well open source business models are doing. The obvious connection follows, the more money that flows into open source projects and open source communities, the quicker that open source will enter the mainstream market.

Medsphere enhanced the Department of Veteran Affairs. (VA's) highly acclaimed, open source VistA EHR to develop Medsphere OpenVista for the commercial market. Over 15,000 physicians and 56,000 nurses in more than 1,300 healthcare organizations, including 160 medical centers and 850 clinics, are currently using VistA.

The apparent business model for Medsphere seems to be fairly tried and true. It is based on the delivery of services. Their current service offering includes deployment, training, support, and custom development. It is not clear whether their software is still open source, only that is was based on the original VistA. I didn't found much information about the software to base any type of conclusion.

Note: There is a WorldVistA project hosted at, and a OpenVista as well (no files here though). I do not know what relationship the Medsphere software has with the WorldVista project.

Hear of any other deals lately?