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Free Software and Business Innovation

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Karsten Gerloff, Free Software Foundation Europe - President

Karsten Gerloff, Free Software Foundation Europe - President


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  • 1. Free Software and business innovation Karsten Gerloff <gerloff@fsfeurope.org> President Free Software Foundation Europe November 12, 2010
  • 2. Gartner: 100% adoption rate until November 2009 “Adoption of open-source software (OSS) is becoming pervasive, with 85 percent of companies surveyed currently using OSS in their enterprises and the remaining 15 percent expecting to in the next 12 months, according to Gartner, Inc.” Gartner Newsroom, 17 November, 2008
  • 3. GNU/Linux is poised to become a 50 billion dollar ecosystem by 2011. Linux Foundation
  • 4. What is Free Software? Free as in Freedom! 1. use 2. study 3. share 4. improve
  • 5. What is Free Software? Free as in Freedom! 1. use 2. study 3. share 4. improve
  • 6. What is Free Software? Free as in Freedom! 1. use 2. study 3. share 4. improve
  • 7. What is Free Software? Free as in Freedom! 1. use 2. study 3. share 4. improve
  • 8. What is Free Software? Free as in Freedom! 1. use 2. study 3. share 4. improve
  • 9. How does this work? Software is covered by copyright Developer grants license (the right) license grants you Freedom
  • 10. Commercial? Those who claim that Free Software is non-commercial a) don’t know what they’re talking about b) want to sell you non-Free software c) both.
  • 11. Commercial? Those who claim that Free Software is non-commercial a) don’t know what they’re talking about b) want to sell you non-Free software c) both.
  • 12. Commercial? Those who claim that Free Software is non-commercial a) don’t know what they’re talking about b) want to sell you non-Free software c) both.
  • 13. Commercial? Those who claim that Free Software is non-commercial a) don’t know what they’re talking about b) want to sell you non-Free software c) both.
  • 14. If it’s free, how can you earn money? Free as in freedom, not price Earn money in almost any way you can think of Software is not a business. It’s the foundation for a business.
  • 15. Abbildung: Red Hat at JMP Securities Annual Research Conference, May 11, 2010
  • 16. Abbildung: Press release of German LinuxVerband, Dec. 17, 2009
  • 17. Free Software and innovation Monopolies (copyright, patents) act as a tax on innovation Free Software = tax-free innovation Study: Free Software saves European industry 36% on R&D1 1 Ghosh et al.: FLOSSImpact (2006), 11
  • 18. Competition and cooperation Businesses can cooperate and compete at the same time Copyleft secures investment Working together to improve common platform
  • 19. Competition and cooperation: Linux kernel Abbildung: Top 10 contributors to 2.6.35 Linux kernel. Greg Kroah-Hartmann, LWN, July 14, 2010.
  • 20. Software model: Free vs proprietary
  • 21. Development model: closed vs open
  • 22. Revenue model
  • 23. What about the license sales? Less than 20% of software revenue from proprietary packaged software More than 80% of software revenue has nothing to do with license sales Most programmers are paid for their time, not for licenses
  • 24. Innovation unshackled Free Software removes constraints on business innovation Free Software enables “deep” service and support Free Software builds skills and keeps spending local
  • 25. Some business models Product specialist: “best knowledge here” Platform providers: quality, stability support Integrators: Customised solutions for clients
  • 26. Some more business models Training and documentation Compliance engineering Dual licensing2 2 Daffara, Carlo: Our definition of OSS-based business models. http://carlodaffara.conecta.it/?p=104
  • 27. Those are just a few options.
  • 28. Choose your own way Do you have to give the software away? No. Do you have to stick to a particular license? No. (Not if it’s your own software, anyway.) But choose your license wisely. Do you have to contribute back? No. But there are advantages: Better integration with the rest of the codebase Influence over the project’s direction
  • 29. Choose your own way Do you have to give the software away? No. Do you have to stick to a particular license? No. (Not if it’s your own software, anyway.) But choose your license wisely. Do you have to contribute back? No. But there are advantages: Better integration with the rest of the codebase Influence over the project’s direction
  • 30. Choose your own way Do you have to give the software away? No. Do you have to stick to a particular license? No. (Not if it’s your own software, anyway.) But choose your license wisely. Do you have to contribute back? No. But there are advantages: Better integration with the rest of the codebase Influence over the project’s direction
  • 31. Choose your own way Do you have to give the software away? No. Do you have to stick to a particular license? No. (Not if it’s your own software, anyway.) But choose your license wisely. Do you have to contribute back? No. But there are advantages: Better integration with the rest of the codebase Influence over the project’s direction
  • 32. Choose your own way Do you have to give the software away? No. Do you have to stick to a particular license? No. (Not if it’s your own software, anyway.) But choose your license wisely. Do you have to contribute back? No. But there are advantages: Better integration with the rest of the codebase Influence over the project’s direction
  • 33. Choose your own way Do you have to give the software away? No. Do you have to stick to a particular license? No. (Not if it’s your own software, anyway.) But choose your license wisely. Do you have to contribute back? No. But there are advantages: Better integration with the rest of the codebase Influence over the project’s direction
  • 34. Choose your own way Do you have to give the software away? No. Do you have to stick to a particular license? No. (Not if it’s your own software, anyway.) But choose your license wisely. Do you have to contribute back? No. But there are advantages: Better integration with the rest of the codebase Influence over the project’s direction
  • 35. But how about selling licenses anyway? “Open core” is a bait-and-switch: Distribute basic version gratis Sell non-free license for features Vendor keeps benefits of Free Software for himself... ...while the customer doesn’t enjoy any freedom Watchwords: “Community / Enterprise version”
  • 36. Takeaways for businesspeople Think clearly. Where do you add value? What basis do you build upon? What are your constraints? What are your opportunities?
  • 37. Takeaways for businesspeople Think clearly. Where do you add value? What basis do you build upon? What are your constraints? What are your opportunities?
  • 38. Takeaways for businesspeople Think clearly. Where do you add value? What basis do you build upon? What are your constraints? What are your opportunities?
  • 39. Takeaways for businesspeople Think clearly. Where do you add value? What basis do you build upon? What are your constraints? What are your opportunities?
  • 40. Takeaways for businesspeople Think clearly. Where do you add value? What basis do you build upon? What are your constraints? What are your opportunities?
  • 41. Takeaways for businesspeople Think together Can you cooperate with others to take on a bigger task? Think ahead Governance: making your project last Invest in suppliers?
  • 42. Takeaways for policymakers Please don’t block the road. Fix public procurement! Stick to the rules Ask for control: Free Software, Open Standards invest for the long term Use Free Software strategically to help new businesses to grow. Free up public sector software.
  • 43. More ideas for policymakers Oppose software patents. Be creative about regional development Tax credits for Free Software R&D?
  • 44. If you don’t do it, others will.
  • 45. http://fsfe.org gerloff@fsfeurope.org