Linked by snydeq on Mon 28th Jun 2010 18:09 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source InfoWorld's Peter Wayner discusses the difficulties of transforming an open source project into a profitable endeavor, offering 8 business models for balancing openness with revenue. 'The debate over permissiveness is woven throughout the discussions of open source business models. Some companies stay small on purpose, while others argue that there's nothing wrong with proprietary options if they encourage all users to share the costs of development,' Wayner writes. 'The challenge for businesses is to find viable mechanisms for aligning the interests of the users and the programmers -- a complex task of social engineering.' From selling support, to selling documentaiton, to selling FUD, each business model offers a unique opportunity to strike a balance between purity and profit.
Permalink for comment 432157
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[5]: Selling out?
by Silent_Seer on Thu 1st Jul 2010 16:03 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Selling out?"
Silent_Seer
Member since:
2007-04-06

The problem is not that an open source strategy cannot make money, the problem is that people like you cannot see it doing so. It requires a little creative thinking. And oh, by 'people like you' I mean people working as developers in companies using the conventional model, where software is sold and source is kept closed.

So let's answer your question there, how can a game like Crysis make by being opensource? Here's how:

They can utilize the Qt method. They can dual-license their game engine under the GPL and a commercial license. However they still keep their IP (scripts, artwork, music, etc) copyrighted. So the commercial game can only be disturbuted and sold by them. Companies can use their game engine to create games but they must release their whole game under the GPL (namely the scripts which make the actual user experience possible as single or multiplayer levels). However if they wish to keep their game proprietary they must use the commercial license for which they have to pay Crytek (the developers of Crysis).

And that's just one aspect, they can still make OSS developer tools/libraries which can be used freely, also have proprietary extensions which must be brought from them. And there is the commercial support which they would be best qualfied to offer. Or heck, just have closed dev tools. Open sourcing the engine would still be a great 'gateway drug'.

So in other words, don't think that software is the only thing to be sold there, there is IP, there is support, there is hardware (which is not feasible in this case), etc. All you need is a little bit of imagination. And look around you, a lot of the industries you take for granted would have been scoffed at by traditional businesses (for their time).
'What? Make money by managing other's money, i.e. banking, stock brokerage, etc....you've GOT to be kidding me!'

Edited 2010-07-01 16:05 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2