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LinuxPlanet: From Contribs to Customers: How Open Source Projects Turn Into Successful Businesses

“Most open source projects are born of necessity. Individuals
need code for specific purposes, so they start writing it. Maybe
other people could use it, too, so they start a project on
SourceForge. The earliest users are typically developers who also
need to use the code. If the project takes off, then more
developer-contributors join the community. At some point, projects
usually settle into a routine of core contributors. As the project
gains popularity, the user base is likely to shift more towards
users who do not contribute code. These users add value to the
project by submitting bug reports and spreading information about
the project to peers.

“Early users are tolerant of bugs and incomplete product
features. It’s worth it to them to be able to use free software and
be a part in guiding its future. Because of all the elbow grease
they put into the software to make it work for them, they won’t
spend money on support or extra features. They do not make a
market…”

Complete
Story