Free Software consultant

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Free Software Consultants are people and organizations that "sell", support, service, integrate, extend, customize, train and advise on wp:Portal:free software solutions.

will be a directory using Semantic Data to collect and publish info on Enterprise Quality Free Software Consultants in the Newburyport and greater New England area like eQuality Technology, The Perl Shop, BFC Computing, and 10-up

Will likely include some of the larger corporations too like Open Logic etc.

Free Software Businesses[edit | edit source]

Grant Ingersoll, founder and CEO of Lucidworks, talks about 3 big lessons I learned from running an open source company, and then continues with a new "Open Founders" column Let's talk about how to build a business with open source [1] Refactoring open source business models [2]

Business Model[edit | edit source]

It's been a while since the Internet began, and the first companies took the lead, then there was the Internet bubble, and now the landscape is much different than it was in the 90's or even the first decade of the new millenium. More than halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, what can we say about the success of the Free Software movement and about the companies, businesses, political environments, communities or coops that have succeeded in pushing free technology forward while also succeeding in delivering capabilities that at least sustain the ecosystem financially?

As an aside, it's still funny to hear people claim that "Open Source is not a business model" because it never was! Open Source is a development model.

InfoWorld says: "Face it: There's no money in open source" A click-bait headline, but without much truth to it. What they mean is that you can't make a billion dollars, overnight, off of free sharing. Well, duh! They claim that there isn't another company save RedHat that is "an open source company" (making money). Patently false. There are tons of them (eg. just about every single web agency and web hosting company on the planet). If you define the "category" as companies whose products are exclusively 100% free software, then it's true that there are fewer such companies. In that definition, RedHat might not even qualify because (i think) they still distribute their RHEL with binary blobs and/or make RHN non-free[3]. If you define the category as companies whose major focus, products and services involve free software; whose major revenue streams depend on free software, then I think you will find too many companies to list them all. Twitter, Facebook, Rackspace, eBay, Amazon, etc. (I'd like to compile a list, but that's a separate issue). If you define "free software companies" as to include those that use free software "under the covers", then it's really just about every company on the planet.

I think it's also important to define "profit". Open Source is not a business model. It's a development model. As such, it creates ways to produce value, especially when that value is measured as "capability". As a society, we face major ethical, environmental and humanitarian challenges which free software can uniquely address. If we start to measure success differently (v. just a dollar metric), then we might find many more examples of successful free software cooperatives. Success in a sharing economy CAN be measured by how many downloads you have; as long as you're earning enough money to keep the lights on and pay living wages. Simon Phipps points this out in the article VC's Who Miss the Point of Open Source Shouldn't Fund It as counterpoint to the article The Money In Open-Source Software [4].

Apprenda CEO Sinclair Schuller

How does the License Choice affect your business model and success?[edit | edit source]

My worry, and it's shared by many, is that all the most successful free software companies continue to get swallowed up by larger companies that don't care about free software or the value created by freedom; they only care about the value of monopolization. So, whereas Sun generally was a good steward of MySQL, Oracle gobbled up Sun and MySQL was put to the test (forked and survives).


References[edit source]

  1. Posted 17 Feb 2016 by Grant Ingersoll
  2. 20 Apr 2016 by Grant Ingersoll
  3. I checked and although there is source code for RHN, a license for their proxy server is like $2,500 and satellite is $13K so apparently you CAN give away the code and still charge quite a bit of money for that code in a convenient package.
  4. Feb 9, 2016 article by Max Schireson , Dharmesh Thakker