In preparation for my upcoming OSBC session, "Open-Core Licensing: The New Business Model Standard for Commercial Software," I dug through some old presentations to try to figure out how monetization efforts have changed in commercial open-source companies.
Ultimately, revenue from open source boils down to understanding buyer types, as described by former MySQL CEO and current Sun Senior Vice President Marten Mickos starting all the way back in 2005.
Marten described the buyer market for open-source solutions as:
Those who spend time to save money Those who spend money to save time
Marten has also asserted that "in the past, differentiation was a compelling reason to buy but, if incorrectly implemented, it could also drive the compelling reason to abandon."
That statement leads into the topic of discussion around open-core licensing and the associated risk-versus-reward scenario as open-source vendors manage projects to balance revenue and community.
The big challenge for vendors trying to monetize open-source products is how to encourage payment for something (anything?) while not bastardizing the user base that is hooked on the free software. I've outlined below my latest attempt at explaining the commercial open-source evolution--or at least, an explanation of how several companies have matured their models to ensure both community and financial success.
Support + free code Support + commercial license Support + commercial license + indemnity + warranty Support + commercial license + indemnity + warranty + exclusive features
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