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Towards A Real Business Model For Open-Source Software

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  • #76
    Why is Linux not a success on the desktop?

    No one has challenged the definition of success. The original author seems to equate success with making lots of money. By this definition, Linux is a complete failure, but if you have to wonder if software based on copyleft open-source licensing would even consider this to be the applicable benchmark.
    Based on the criteria of providing a modern operating system which is open source, Linux is not only a success, it has completely dominated its competitors. Linux market share is tiny, but so is BMW's market share. Both are products that skilled users go our of their way to use.

    People contribute to copyleft opensource software for lots of reasons, but one of them is that they see a system where co-operation is guaranteed: where they have their contribution exploited. Subscriptions models are not open-source and don't encourage users to become developers. Don't call it open source. It's not very unusual actually; lots of products have "community" versions which are open-source and enhanced versions which are closed source. I personally would steer away from such products if there was an open source equivalent; open-source projects only need a couple of good developers to do amazing things, and I'd much rather support real open source. But that's just me.

    In the app-store world, we see that a lot of small developers can make a good living by selling a $2 app and it seems that open source is not making much impact here. For niche products, open source may not be the way to go.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by kraftman View Post
      If someone uses GPL and shares he must be a contributor. It's, so simple
      This is a bit unclear.
      If someone shares the original piece of GPL code, they are redistributing. (covered by license)
      If they are making derivative code and sharing it, they are contributing. (also covered by license)
      If this was what you meant, I agree.

      Comment


      • #78
        This is a really excellent read for me. Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw. Thanks for posting this informative article.

        Comment


        • #79
          I'm responding to the article rather than the comments.

          The business model seems viable. I think it certainly has potential for profit. However it does not seem desirable if software freedom is a concern, for several reasons:

          Firstly, the general point that you are moving away from software freedom to create this model from the very start. While BSD licences give you more absolute freedom (imo) this model would create a situation where the practical freedom (of the code, users etc) is less. A majority of the interesting development would be closed. Closed development processes and reduced transparency. This would certainly add a new dynamic to the BSD vs GPL debate (which I personally don't care about, just making the point).

          Secondly your suggestion of the code being closed for years; this results in closed solutions being unavailable to many and free alternatives being developed before they are opened, massive redundancy. There is already a lot of redundancy in FOSS, we don't need more. This presents other problems too. For example after 5 years the newly opened code, even if it wasn't obsolete, would be dumped out as a "finished" project. The code released would be completely foreign to everyone outside of the closed developers, who have likely moved on to other projects. This prevents you taking advantage of the beneficial aspects of open development. This issue alone has killed otherwise excellent projects in the past.

          Reading the article I get the impression this is a band-aid fix for a problem inherent with open source development. I applaud your attempt to improve the situation, especially for smaller projects such as the BSDs and for them maybe it would work. For bigger FOSS projects, with rapid development I don't see this as viable. Free alternatives to any closed project would be created and improved before the code could ever be released. If the BSDs became more successful this same situation would probably occur there too but then again, maybe that's enough? Just to get into a position where the service model is viable for you?

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Sprewell View Post

            In the last 4 quarters, Red Hat brought in $750 million in revenues, Microsoft brought in $60 billion: that is almost two orders of magnitude more. Red Hat isn't some new startup either, it's been around 17 years. If there were so much money in open source, they'd be making it by now and grabbing huge market share.
            Ya ya. Microsoft had 23 billion cash on hand at the start of the downturn. Yet it still goes to the market and bonds out 3.5 billion dollars last year. You know what the closed source model has that the open source model doesn't. Big fat lies. Until you grab micorosft by the throat and shake it till it fears for it's own life it won't tell you the truth. Until you actually learn what deception is and how it's employed. You will never understand how workable business models fail while unworkable business models succeed. You read charts and study data that is lies every day of your life. It doesn't make sense and it will never make sense till you learn to call it out.

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            • #81
              This is directed to anyone, who thinks BSD licensing is good.
              It is not. It creates idea stealing. It creates basis for NDAs. It makes a programmer dependent from corporations,both in physical survival and in copyright recongition, this is contrary to independance.

              Listen to the wise old man.
              He has uncovered the real devilish sense of BSD.
              GPL is the only true option at protecting intellectual property in the meaning of information and not something physical.


              -- 11:06 - 11:40 --


              http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...rch&plindex=0#

              Comment


              • #82
                I saw nothing relevant there, although I skipped a lot of it. In any case, a video documentary is not the preferred media to convey information. Please provide links to useful text documents or expand on the arguments yourself. You could start cutting down on the "BSD promotes stealing" idea. Only a dishonest interpretation of the wishes of the original authors, as well as a complete contempt for their intellectual abilities can lead to that conclusion.

                A couple of quotes I picked up from the thread:

                Originally posted by Hoodlum
                Firstly, the general point that you are moving away from software freedom to create this model from the very start. While BSD licences give you more absolute freedom (imo) this model would create a situation where the practical freedom (of the code, users etc) is less. A majority of the interesting development would be closed. Closed development processes and reduced transparency. This would certainly add a new dynamic to the BSD vs GPL debate (which I personally don't care about, just making the point).
                I'm not sure about whether the scenario you describe does necessarily follow. On the one hand, there is no lack of examples of important projects that used and use some sort of BSD-like license with much success, effectively increasing--as you said--the "absolute freedom" available. So what "practical freedoms"--I don't quite get what you mean with this--would be gained if, say, X or Apache were licensed under the GPL? The second part, about where the interesting development takes place, is quite debatable. By using BSD-like licenses you certainly promote development in the first stages of the chain, since there are no strings attached. In this way, potential funding bodies, perhaps with an interest in seeing monetary profit at the end of the process, would not be put off by any complications that may arise due to license limitations. Thus, BSD-like licenses are perceived as a way to promote research and creation of standards, which can then be implemented by whoever is interested, making profit or not.

                Originally posted by o0max0o
                I also don't agree with your statement that Open Source software cannot even break the server/consulting ghetto. I'll make just one name to prove you wrong: Mozilla.
                I don't agree either, but let's not fool ourselves, Mozilla takes a huge amount of cash from Google, distorting any judgment we can make about its success in the desktop market.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by yotambien View Post
                  I don't agree either, but let's not fool ourselves, Mozilla takes a huge amount of cash from Google, distorting any judgment we can make about its success in the desktop market.
                  I'm not sure that I understand what you mean here.
                  Isn't a measure of success to find good sponsors?

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    No, no, what I mean is that maybe Firefox wouldn't be where it is today if it hadn't got the financial backing of Google.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Oh, I see what you meant. Sure, if Google decided to give that cash to Mozilla they already thought it was a good product with a great potential. My point still applies, though; I'm sure KDE, Gnome or whatever other project would be better today if they had 50 million dollars extra each year. It's a bit circular, yes.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Yes it's vice versa. The good product attracts sponsors and the financial help they offer make it even better.
                        The fact that KDE or Gnome didn't find a colossal company to support them financially, doesn't reduce the value of Firefox though. Different circumstances.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by yotambien View Post
                          I saw nothing relevant there, although I skipped a lot of it. In any case, a video documentary is not the preferred media to convey information.
                          Great lol! This video is part of theory that microsoft was actually part of IBM and IBM has created bill gates and co, and trasfered huge intellectual base on part of OS/2 to microsoft to get away from anti-trust lawsuit in 80'ties AND switch to microcontroller based personal computers from supercomputer segment as market changed. Bill, IBM and microsoft are representatives of something very huge, with high financial power and love to control and dominate the industry.

                          In times there was one man,a chef of Digital Research, whom this video is dedicated, that actually invented what is known as DOS originally CP/M, created first personal computer and also invented A LOT. See his wikipedia entry if you wish so. Microsoft has copied his software per chinese wall technique, Bill has stolen his ideas; after this IBM has tried "to purchase" his CP/M issuing one-sided Non-Disclosure that this meeting should never be mentioned and also wished to purchased whole OS for nothing. Gary disagreed and later a lot of people including Bill has mentioned he has gone to golf that day instead of meeting IBM salesmen, which Gary couldnt negotiate, since he has signed NDA. Further IBM has agreed to sell both oses, quick and dirty from bill, which was a chinese walled copy of original cp/m, which later became known as msdos, and original cp/m. Gary agreed to that. But in the end IBM has shipped his os for 240$ requiring extra order and ms-dos for 40$ with pcs without any orders(its back from then when ms crap is preinstalled, since the beginning!). 6 times market price set by ibm itself has worked and since that moment DR has gone bankrupt and Gary felt himself to be betrayed by everyone. At the age of 52 he tried to write down the memories for the book with original facts, when two years later he was murdered with official version falling of the chair in restaraunt.

                          Ibm created microsoft to prevent unknown company take any significant role in IT and destroyed DR with own invented microcrap. Later they transfered intellectual knowledge via OS/2 project which can only be seen favorable to microsoft.

                          The phrase which is spoken in that minute, which you were unable to hear(cleaning ears may help) is:


                          Gary was an academical guy, the one who invents. And Bill is a businessman, the seller.
                          Whilst academics base their work and require sharing and ideas exchange(as seen in BSD), the sellers live in concurrency(as seen in proprietary).

                          So Gary basically has shared everything with Bill, while Bill told himself, Haha what an idiot, he gives me all his secrets for free.


                          This is BSD feeding proprietary!
                          Without source close-down protection from GPL, BSD is a sheep feeding the wolves.


                          Listen to wise old man in the video.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by yotambien View Post
                            No, no, what I mean is that maybe Firefox wouldn't be where it is today if it hadn't got the financial backing of Google.
                            This has nothing to do with Google or with any sponsorship.

                            GPL protects the code from going into ownership of anyone.

                            Anyone pushes the code with financial or any other potentual to be developed in the direction which this party is interested.

                            Because of ownership pretection and opensource many parties can push the source in different directions and share the results. This scales from corporations to individuals writing own plugin.

                            If google has pushed firefox, then google needed it.

                            Now google pushes chrome, which has not much in common with GPL and is poisoned by H264 codecs.

                            With MPEGLA starting to charge Jan 2011 for any H264 encoded video with length more than 12 minutes, it comes clear why Youtube videos are limited 10 Minutes. Why Youtube(google) pushes to use H264. And why the only browser with this patented crap is Google Chrome.

                            Firefox refuses to include this crap and as such users are recommended to migrate from Firefox to Chrome solely because Chrome is H264 friendly.

                            Google is neither good or bad. If it behaves good, people apreciate it. If it starts crap like H264, people will know the truth(it is internet) and will switch to different search engine. Google is google and me is me.

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Apopas
                              Yes it's vice versa. The good product attracts sponsors and the financial help they offer make it even better.
                              The fact that KDE or Gnome didn't find a colossal company to support them financially, doesn't reduce the value of Firefox though. Different circumstances.
                              Let's avoid generalisations. If you say it's the opposite, you can probably cite a lot of examples where this was the case. I myself wasn't trying to generalise.

                              But Mozilla was cited as an instance of an open source product "break[ing] the server/consulting ghetto". I'm pointing out that it's not the best example, given the amount of money poured over it every year. Of course the particular circumstances of KDE and Gnome don't take or give anything to Mozilla, but it's no wonder why Firefox is a killer application and KDE or Gnome are not. The origin of Firefox is Netscape navigator, which had been under closed development for 4 years when the Mozilla project started. When Firefox 1.0 was released, in 2004, Google already provided 75% of Mozilla's income (around 90% nowadays). Cause and effect are deeply intertwined here.

                              But actually Mozilla is a great example in relation with was has been discussed in this thread. It is undeniable that Mozilla is successful and makes a lot of money. It is also notable that the money doesn't come from selling any piece of software, but from striking a deal with an advertising company that uses that software as an avenue to sell their services.

                              Originally posted by crazycheese
                              The phrase which is spoken in that minute, which you were unable to hear(cleaning ears may help) is:
                              My ears are reasonably clean and in a fully working state; more importantly, the same can be said about my brain. At no moment the BSD license is mentioned there. You are somehow interpreting a couple of sentences you found in a documentary under a light that you believe it fits your particular preferences for software licensing. But I'm not interested in conspiracy theories, anecdotal occurrences or videos featuring wise old men.

                              Again: there is no lack of examples of successful projects using BSD-like licenses, and somehow they don't seem to dissolve without the protection of a more restrictive license. Actually, they even manage to get contributions back even when there is no explicit, legal requirement to do so. It's simple, when you get to write your own TCP/IP stack, your HTTP server, your web engine, your X server or your own OS you get to decide which license to use. Meanwhile you are taking benefit from these projects in the same way you take benefit from GPL-licensed ones, no more, no less.

                              Originally posted by crazycheese
                              Google is google and me is me.
                              That sums up pretty well the substance of your posts.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by yotambien View Post
                                I'm not sure about whether the scenario you describe does necessarily follow. On the one hand, there is no lack of examples of important projects that used and use some sort of BSD-like license with much success, effectively increasing--as you said--the "absolute freedom" available. So what "practical freedoms"--I don't quite get what you mean with this--would be gained if, say, X or Apache were licensed under the GPL? The second part, about where the interesting development takes place, is quite debatable. By using BSD-like licenses you certainly promote development in the first stages of the chain, since there are no strings attached. In this way, potential funding bodies, perhaps with an interest in seeing monetary profit at the end of the process, would not be put off by any complications that may arise due to license limitations. Thus, BSD-like licenses are perceived as a way to promote research and creation of standards, which can then be implemented by whoever is interested, making profit or not.
                                I don't think you understood my comment.
                                I'm talking about that business model more than the licence. What is the point of a licence like MIT that gives so much freedom when all the development is closed (read the article!)? That has the opposite effect of taking away freedom (of the code and from the users) as compared to GPL projects that *must* be open and transparent. In other words the effective (or practical reality) is that the code and development of it is closed for years (that was part of the suggestion in the artcle). I can't see this business model as a way forward for free software. I'm sure it would make money but releasing the code years later is not at all desirable for FOSS imo.

                                X / Apache don't use this business model, so the example you used doesn't follow. They use a service model to fund development.

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