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[edlug] RE: FOSS business models [was Big blue v Big poo]

This is a very interesting thread, I note the change to 'FOSS business models'.

I'm sure it does happen the way you outline, all the time.

I wonder what other FOSS business models there might be though? Here's one off the top of my head;

Creating Software for Linux
There are software companies who have created products for Linux (e.g. Codeweavers, VMWare, RedHat, SuSE, and soon Macromedia) that they charge for, and make money on. 

I expect there must be money in writing good software for Linux distros, and charging light for volume sales, an 'iTunes' for Linux maybe, or some professional plug-ins for the GIMP, maybe some smooth video-conferencing software, or a killer CRM app that integrates with Evolution. 

There are existing software products like Net Support School etc (http://www.netsupportsoftware.com/) that as a consumer I'd like to have on Linux.



Peter George
Training Manager
Net Resources Ltd
26 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh, EH12 5AL
T: 0131 477 7127  F: 0131 477 7126

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Day [mailto:Tim.Day@xxx.xxx.xxx] 
Sent: 29 March 2004 15:31
To: Peter George; Alistair J Ross
Cc: edlug@xxx.xxx.xxx
Subject: RE: FOSS business models [was Big blue v Big poo]

Peter George wrote:

> 1. Create Open Source software, release under GPL or other. 2. Promote 
> and market your product. 3. Charge for bespoke installation and 
> suport.

The above sounds simple, but I'd be surprised if it actually happens that often.  I believe a far more common occurence is:

1. Be in some business OTHER than software.
   (Perhaps some sort of service or content provider).
2. Decide you need some piece of software. 
3. Develop said software in-house and use it.
   (and this is where it ends for most in-house software.
   BTW, note that most of the world's software developments IS
   in-house and not shrink-wrapped apps).
4. Briefly consider trying to make money from the software.
   But you're NOT IN THE SOFTWARE BUSINESS: it would be a risky
   venture and can't really justify the effort needed to polish it
   up, make it more general, market it and support it.
5. Decide that the benefit from having your competitors
   (who probably need said software as much as you do) working
   on the code outweighs the threat of them acquiring it for free.
   Remember, you're NOT in the software business!  Your customers
   use you in preference to your competitors because of your quality
   of service, not because of some piece of software you happen to use. 6. Release code under GPL.  Everyone jumps on the bandwagon and
   your code becomes de-facto industry standard.  (I'll conveniently
   ignore the more likely outcome that simply no-one cares).
7. Get on with running your non-software business and keeping your
   service customers happy.  That software project you started off
   just seems to keep getting better and better all by itself with
   minimal effort by you.

Tim Day
Senior Software Engineer
Voxar Limited
Edinburgh - Corporate Headquarters | Boston
Bonnington Bond, 2 Anderson Place, Edinburgh EH6 5NP, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 131 472 4792 Fax: +44 (0) 131 472 4799
Email: tim.day@xxx.xxx.xxx Web: www.voxar.com
Registered in Scotland No. 145641 Registered Office as above.

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