[Haifux] Why open source

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Fri Nov 28 20:37:34 MSK 2008

On Friday 28 November 2008, Tal Abir wrote:
> Hi,
> Lets say you wrote a utility that may be useful to others.
> Why would you open source it?
> How can you earn money from opening the code and giving it for free?

ESR gives some business models for FOSS here:


Since this article was writtem, other business models emerged. You can provide 
paid support or services for the program you wrote. You can provide your 
library under a SleepyCat/GPL-like licence and charge people for the ability 
to link against it without having to open their sources as well. There may be 
other models that I forgot about momentarily. 

Regardless of this, not all people think about money first when considering to 
release their programs as open-source. For them, using an open-source licence 
implies that more people can benefit from their work, and as a result fewer 
problems will have to be solved twice (see 
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html ).

> Source forge is making money from hosting your utility, Wikipedia is making
> money from documenting it, what is left for the developer?

Well, Sourceforge is not charging money for hosting your project. It make 
money from ads and donations. Wikipedia does not aim to provide user or 
developer documentation for the project. It provides Encyclopedia-like 
information, which cannot compensate for a developer documenting his project. 
And sometimes pages for FOSS projects are not present in the wikipedia or are 
even deleted due to "lack of notability". Wikipedia does not charge for 
creating such content or making it available, and makes it money from 

As for the developer - he still owns the rights for the code, and has the best 
familiarity with it (that's not the scope of such sites as you describe) and 
he can charge for licensing it differently or for providing services and 


	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
First stop for Perl beginners - http://perl-begin.org/

Shlomi, so what are you working on? Working on a new wiki about unit testing 
fortunes in freecell? -- Ran Eilam

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