Linux.com: The Free Software Entrepreneur’s Guide

Some industry observers, skeptical of the Free Software
community, like to say that programmers need to eat. They imply
that with Free Software, no one makes money, and proprietary
software is needed.
First of all, these observers neglect that
Free Software is about freedom, not price. In any case, there are
plenty of ways to make money in the Free Software community. Let’s
look at a few interesting ways for an enterprising developer to
make money with Free Software.”

” The most often quoted way to make money with Free Software is
to provide support services. Most of the Linux distribution vendors
provide support for their customers, including paid support
contracts. Some companies, such as Linuxcare, specialise in support
services for companies and individuals. Consulting services are
also quite common. Someone with knowledge of what Free Software can
and cannot do can provide valuable information to clients looking
for solutions…”

“Another common way to make money with Free Software is to
package it. This involves developing Free Software, and packaging
it with a CD-ROM, documentation, and support. The package could be
purchased via retail outlets or online ordering. Prime examples of
software that could be packaged in this fashion include Linux
distributions, large office suites, games, and multimedia
applications. Most of these applications are too large to be
downloaded, and thus you are providing a service to the marketplace
by having it available on CD.”