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Businesses Open Source

Open Source Software Licenses Versus Business Models 95

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-size-does-not-fit-all dept.
dp619 writes "Network World is running a guest article by Outercurve Foundation's technical director Stephen Walli discussing how FOSS license choice can affect a company's business model. Walli disagrees that a FOSS license dictates the business model or that the business model dictates the license."
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Open Source Software Licenses Versus Business Models

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  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @01:46AM (#42677887) Journal

    If you look at the businesses that have succeeded using FOSS every. single. one. has used one of the "blessed three" business models, selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

    This is why for example no matter how many game engines are given to the FOSS community you will NEVER see a great single player masterpiece like Bioshock come from the FOSS community, because games do not fall under the blessed three and therefor they simply can't get enough funding to keep the doors open. This is also why we'll see Canonical close their doors in 3 years or less, they have already moved to the tin cup model after trying both support (Ubuntu One, Ubuntu Server) and selling hardware (Ubuntu TV, Ubuntu Tablet) but desktop OSes don't fit under the blessed three so they simply don't have a chance.

    This isn't saying that FOSS can't be successful, look at Red Hat, but your business needs to fall under the blessed three to succeed. The reason why is obvious, if anybody can make infinite copies and give them away you simply have to have some other way of making money. Personally I think there needs to be a subset of GPL with no redistribution clause so we can get things like games and software for home users that don't fit under the blessed three as without the redistribution clause the "printer story" that gave birth to the GPL would still be solved, but its so ingrained now I doubt you could ever get it to take off. So in the end stick to the blessed three if you are going FOSS or you'll end up like Xandros, Linspire, Mandriva, Loki, and soon Canonical.

  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @01:52AM (#42677915) Journal

    If you look at the businesses that have succeeded using FOSS every. single. one. has used one of the "blessed three" business models, selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

    Google.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:07AM (#42677973)

    If you look at the businesses that have succeeded using FOSS every. single. one. has used one of the "blessed three" business models, selling support, selling hardware, holding out a tin cup.

    Google.

    Google doesn't provide FOSS as a product. They provide search as a hook to attract eyeballs for ads (AdSense, DoubleClick, AdMob, practically all the other advertising companies are owned by Google).

    Otherwise we could say Apple as well since they use and provide a fair amount of FOSS. But FOSS is not their primary business as well. It's just incidental to their primary business.

    This article is referring to FOSS companies who provide FOSS as a product - RedHat, MySQL, probably even others like Codeweavers (WINE paid support).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:11AM (#42677991)

    Quick addendum: I think GP is confusing "using" FOSS and "selling" FOSS. Obviously you don't "sell" FOSS, but Red Hat does something like "selling" FOSS and that's the point. They have a model where they release free and open-source software as their primary function, but still manage to make money. Google makes their money by using and contributing back to FOSS projects, but their primary money makers are in licensing their search engine for local company use, providing custom instances of Gmail for company email, and selling/using your personal information for the purpose of advertising to their customers. All three of these may have some open source component, but I can guarantee you that the algorithm Google uses to make it's search results great is closed source and it will stay that way until the company goes up in flames.

  • by Zerth (26112) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:34AM (#42678047)

    Google doesn't sell Android. It gives away Android so it can sell the eyeballs of Android users to its real customers.

  • by DeSigna (522207) on Thursday January 24, 2013 @02:37AM (#42678061)
    ...which is a business model built around distributing FOSS.
  • Re:Homo Erotica (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FlyingGuy (989135) <flyingguy AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 24, 2013 @03:42AM (#42678261)

    You are both correct and incorrect. I have a couple of friends who are architects. The reuse major structural elements, design elements etc.. They also come up with new stuff, so yes and no.

I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.

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