"A look at how two companies are making money, in spite of
the fact that they give away the source code to their software
products. eGrail is doing it with a website content management
application, while Zero-Knowledge is prospering with client-side
Internet privacy software. And it's not all about selling
"Giving away eGrail code is, at the very least, powerful
marketing. EGrail then cashes in by selling more powerful,
specialized "modules" on top of the core system -- for functions
such as e-commerce, core content management, and calendaring.
Schliewe claims EGrail is the only major product in its category
that that runs on Linux. That, together with releasing even dated
source code, builds trust with potential clients' technical
specialists. They can tinker with the free version and get to know
the software, and often become the biggest evangelists within a
firm when it comes time to make a sale. For example, Schliewe says,
"Medtronic had downloaded the open-source version of the product,
then decided to buy."
"EGrail isn't worried about competitors selling advanced modules
based on the freely available core system, which carries
commonly-used public licenses such as Mozilla. "EGrail is aimed at
the Global 2000 enterprise, and those enterprises want to purchase
it," Schliewe insists. "This will be one of their most critical
applications. They're not willing to buy a product, based on ours
but produced by another company, and bet their entire e-business on
it. We're betting they want to buy pretty much a packaged
"Not only does Zero-Knowledge give away its Linux source code --
and eventually plans to give up the Windows core system as well --
the company can't, by its very philosophy, profit by selling
customer information. Fundamentally, says Linux/Mac product manager
Mark Scott, the company sells access to its Freedom
privacy-enhanced network. ... The chief reason for going Open
Source, Scott says, is transparency. "Our chief cryptographer is a
guy named Ian Goldberg, who's very well known in the Linux
community. The main reason we went open source is that Ian led us
there -- we believe for our product to be 100 percent reliable,
above any security breach, it has to be transparently open to peer
review. People have to be able to see and to review the source
code, to see what it does."
"Open source makes Freedom more robust, and, as with eGrail,
helps Zero Knowledge more effectively create tech-side evangelists.
Scott notes. "It's extraordinarily friendly for engineers, working
for company X, who have heard about our privacy solution, to just
download code and march it upstairs -- instead of lawyers working
on mutual non-disclosure arrangements," Scott says. He adds that
releasing code also makes it easier to incorporate Freedom into
other open-source products. "Releasing code allows us to introduce
our technology [into other products] more easily."
Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.