If your company is spending significant resources on proprietary software that―
- isn’t your company’s competitive secret sauce,
- would be interesting and useful to many programmers, and
- doesn’t duplicate other open source technologies,
―you should either commercialize it or open source it. You’re wasting your company’s money if you don’t.
This is good place to note that commercial software can also be open source―that these terms are not mutually exclusive. You can open some or most of your company’s source and require a paid license for commercial use (even if academic or non-profit use is free). You can keep just enough proprietary (even for a relatively short period of time) so that anyone who can afford it will pay for the whole thing, not just the open parts. You don’t even need to decide exactly what to do up front, just start with the safe (to open source parts) and see how it goes. That’s what we’re doing with ATF.