Influence in open-source development communities is earned through years of writing and sharing great code. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, influence in the business side of open source is also gained through sharing expertise, and not necessarily from making mountains of cash.
At least, that's the lesson I take away from MindTouch's inaugural survey of 50 open-source business executives. MindTouch, an open-source collaboration company, has spent the last few months surveying executives within the commercial open-source community, asking them to name the most influential people within the commercial open-source ecosystem.
The common theme running through these top-five vote getters is how open they've been with their peers. Larry Augustin sits on several boards of open-source companies, but he also frequently speaks at industry events and has been involved in open source from its inception.
Matt Asay, my friend and fellow CNET blogger, sits on more than 10 open-source advisory boards, chairs the Open Source Business Conference, hosts an informal get-together every year (called Open Source Goat Rodeo--don't ask why), blogs at an unhealthy rate for CNET on open source, and has actively helped a range of aspiring open-source entrepreneurs understand the mechanics of running an open-source business.