I didn't get this posted yesterday because the Internet crapped out in our area. Nothing but excuses, I know.
I've been working beyond the bleeding edge, using a version of the Nutch code that's not even made it into the Apache SVN for the project yet. To celebrate the fact that my contributions will make it in I figure its a good time to get into open source and business.
To put it briefly, and as you can probably guess, I'm pro open source. I use it extensively and I push back as much as I can. When it comes to the most of the code I write there really isn't much commercial benefit in keeping it hidden so it just makes sense to give back.
There are two types of business on the web, one where you provide a software service and that is the product and others where you provide access to data. It's pretty easy to tell which camp you're in.
37 Signals for example, they're in the first and their software probably isn't something they just want to let people download - unless they're incredibly brave. Doing that would mean that they'd be competing on margins for the cheapest hosting, users would flock to the cheaper services, have a poor experience and blame the software.
Sproozi on the other hand is the second type, our data is what users mostly care about and we're not planning to be precious about our code. I've already been pushing some of the changes I've made to Nutch back into the project and we're planning open source projects of our own in the coming months.
One of our plans we have is to build iPhone, Andriod and other phone based applications for our service and release them as open source projects. We're planning to write them (or have them written for us) and release 'official' versions. Then release that code as open source project to provide a framework for developers so that they can build great things from it and on our API.
If there are any experienced iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian or Pre developers out there that want to get involved, drop me a line were a ways off yet but would love to chat about it and get some very early feedback.