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LinuxDevices.com: Can Free Software be Profitable?

Sep 12, 2002, 14:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Vandenabeele)

"Some time back, LinuxDevices.com invited me to write an article about how our company, Mind NV, has successfully become profitable while remaining a pure free and open source software based embedded development company (we primarily focus on Embedded Linux, eCos, and JVM development for R&D groups at large corporations). The financial results from 2Q-2002 are now in, and we do have a decent profit (EBIT 12%) and no more debts to the bank. I am proud of our having achieved this result in the current times, after overcoming serious challenges in previous quarters.

"For the further mass adoption of free and open source software in the embedded space, we need to find long term symbiosis of free software development and business profitability--not only in the support and customization business (where Mind is earning its revenue now), but also for funding development from scratch of frameworks and basic infrastructure. I suggest a model where the licensing scheme evolves along the life-cycle of the software, from enforced sharing of the initial start-up costs among the early commercial adopters to a truly free software model when the software reaches the early majority, mass adoption phase..."

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