[Haifux] Why open source

Tzafrir Cohen tzafrir at cohens.org.il
Sat Nov 29 00:26:05 MSK 2008

On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 06:07:09PM +0200, Tal Abir wrote:
> Hi,
> Lets say you wrote a utility that may be useful to others.

Is it useful for you as well?

> Why would you open source it?

There are several reasons. 

Do you think you can actually make money from selling the software as 
a stand-alone product? Without support? If you make it free software you
can still sell support. You're more likely to get good bug reports and
even some patches.

Furthermore, if you actually need that software to work well for you
(e.g. to offer a better service to your clients) then making it free
software reduces the development cost. It also reduces the deployment
cost, because there's no licensing overhead and there's no inherent
conflict between the developer and the user.

For instance, it means people can get support from someone else, and
hence they won't be left with a useless pile of bits if you're gone. It
gives the software a higher value.

> How can you earn money from opening the code and giving it for free?

There are several possible methods. 

Here is an article discussing several of them:

That said, it is still a tricky business. But then again, getting people
to pay you for limited usage licenses for a software isn't that easy as
well (specifically if there is an interesting competition).

Note that I did not write here that you should release your software as
free software. You wrote it, and it is up to you to license it.

> Source forge is making money from hosting your utility, 

SourceForge makes osme money form adds. But also from selling the 
proprietary SourceForge development platform.

> Wikipedia is making money from documenting it, 

Wikimedia is hosted by the Wikimedia foundation, which is a NGO. The 
content of Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GFDL. It is 
run by a software called wikimedia which is free software as well. 
Wikipedia carries no adds. You'll occasionally see there a call for 

> what is left for the developer?
> Is there someone who can give a lecture on the subject?
> Are there more people interested in the subject?

Tzafrir Cohen         | tzafrir at jabber.org | VIM is
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