Could Your Open Source Project Support a Business?
Oct 10, 2009, 12:02 (0 Talkback[s])
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"On the surface, even the concept of an "open source software
business" seems to be an oxymoron. "Open source" means software
that is freely available for users to download, use, and
distribute. A "software business" means charging for that software,
be it from licensing, support, or documentation. So how could an
open source project be used to build a software business?
"To answer this question, we need first to understand why both
commercial and open source software models work in the first place.
Commercial software offers features. In return for my money, this
shiny package will (hopefully) offer me out-of-the-box features
that meet my needs. Open source software, on the other hand, offers
code. I can go somewhere, get the source code for free, then
customize and extend it as I need. The software freedom that
Stallman originally talked about is really a freedom through code:
I am "free" with open source software not because I got the
software free of charge, but because I have its source code, so I
can change it to suit my needs."