LinuxDevices.com: Can Free Software be Profitable?

“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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