I have a question bugging me for quite some time now.

How can you make a profit off of open source software?
I mean, if your company spends hundreds of hours developing a piece of software for commercial use, how can they argue releasing the code for free and risking piracy would be better than selling it 'closed'?
I'm genuinely interested in this.

BTW I'm referring to the open source purists who want everything to be open source. The occasional Byproduct of commercial software being released as open source is a different story.

  • 5
    Providing commercial support for businesses that use the open source software. Ex: RHEL.
  • 3
    Often they make the money from consulting or extra features around the base application.

    Like mysql. The base db was free and they made money from companies that wanted to have support or consulting.

    Later they added payed options on top of the db like clustering.

    Mozilla makes their money from donations and contracts. First google that payed to be the pre selected search engine and now yahoo foes the same.
  • 5
    closed source software isn't immune to piracy and most enterprise software does not use DRM since it cause too many issues, licensing issues tend to be resolved by lawyers, not by hiding the code.

    At work we pay for services related to lots of opensource software simply because its cheaper that way, why have your own staff spend time installing updates, making backups, verifying that the backups actually work and fixing whatever issues turn up as you go when you can pay a couple of hundred dollars per year to the company who made the software and have them deal with it all (They can do it far cheaper as they'll handle thousands of installations and they are quite likely to have a whole bunch of people on hand who are experts at the software in question).
  • 1
    Oh never thought about all the consulting work and add-ons and such. Interesting.

    Thanks everyone :)
Add Comment