Making money with open source and not losing your soul: A practical guide

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We now live in a world where Open Source Software is as generally accepted as any commercial software. This doesn’t mean that there are lack of commercial aspects for OSS, because I’m here to tell you, Open Source is a perfectly viable business model. Don't worry! You don't have to sell your soul to the suits on Wall Street and give up on the core values of open source to make it work. I'm employed by a company that (hopefully) embodies these values with a lot of success. I’ve also interviewed many business leaders in Open Source companies. Let me share some of what I’ve learned so you too can be successful. The topics I will be covering:

- Picking the right open source license
- Business models for monetizing open source
- Engaging the community in a mutually beneficial way
- Competing with commercial alternatives
- The selling process (yes, we have to talk about that)

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Making money with open source and not losing your soul: A practical guide

  1. 1. Making Money with Open Source and Not Losing Your Soul: A Practical Guide Patrick McFadin @PatrickMcFadin
  2. 2. Intro to me Why you might want to listen to this clown
  3. 3. OSS advocate 1992 - Linux .9 Apache TomcatHTTP
  4. 4. Started a service company…
  5. 5. Current Status Chief Evangelist for Apache Cassandra Work at a OSS company, DataStax I love my job!!!
  6. 6. A Little Background
  7. 7. Is commercial OSS evil? Lock it down and make the freeloaders PAAYYYY!!! Give it all away!
  8. 8. Some say it’s all evil
  9. 9. Cathedral - Code is developed behind closed doors and final release is available as source code Bazaar - All code is developed out in the open
  10. 10. Why would someone buy OSS?
  11. 11. Tour de Open Licenses
  12. 12. The Restrictives License Can Can’t Must Special Case GPLv2 • Commercial • Modify • Distribute • Place Warranty • Sublicense • Hold Liable • Include Original • Disclose Source All changes have to stay GPL GPLv3 • Commercial • Modify • Distribute • Place Warranty • Sublicense • Hold Liable • Include Original • Disclose Source • State changes Fixed “Tivo Hole” in GPLv2 AGPL • Commercial • Modify • Distribute • Place Warranty • Sublicense • Hold Liable • Include Original • Disclose Source • State changes • Include Copyright Made clause for “Network Software” Source: tldrlegal.com Internal Use: Safe, SAAS Application: Warn, Product Distribution: Danger
  13. 13. The Permissives License Can Can’t Must Special Case Apache • Commercial • Modify • Distribute • Place Warranty • Sublicense • Private use • Use Trademark • Hold Liable • Include Copyright • Include License • State Changes • Include Notice Provide a notice in each file changed. Explicit patent license from contibuter. BSD • Commercial • Modify • Distribute • Place Warranty • Sublicense • Use Trademark • Hold Liable • Include Copyright Do anything you want, just include the BSD copyright MIT • Commercial • Modify • Distribute • Private use • Sublicense • Hold Liable • Include Copyright • Include License Do whatever. Include license and copyright Internal Use: Safe, SAAS Application: Safe, Product Distribution: Safe Source: tldrlegal.com
  14. 14. Business Models
  15. 15. Services Support Consulting Training
  16. 16. Product Added features and tooling Selling a license at a unit cost Open Source Software Tooling Commercial extensions Commercial Product
  17. 17. Dual License AGPL or Commercial GPL and Commercial
  18. 18. Embedded revenue Make money inside your product
  19. 19. Finding the fine line Don’t hurt the small teams Build things large organizations will pay for Open Closed
  20. 20. Pitfalls SugarCRM So called "Crippleware" Limited use license. You can only use X amount of…
  21. 21. Engaging the Community
  22. 22. Be an important part of your projects community Work together!
  23. 23. Being open and transparent Talk about what you are doing Acknowledge mistakes Avoid the "hidden agenda"
  24. 24. Missteps Eucalyptus Systems is pulled by Ubuntu Eucalyptus was once "the" open source cloud computing project. It was the core of Ubuntu's cloud strategy, and more or less the only game in town. Unfortunately, it was not a particularly open project. While most of the code was available under an open source license, it wasn't developed in the open and failed to develop much of a community… ! Joe Brockmeier Nov 17, 2011
  25. 25. Competing with Commercial Alternatives
  26. 26. Take the high road Don't get dragged into a dog fight
  27. 27. Marketing and FUD Marketing is about awareness OSS is the anecdote to FUD Here is the source code I now know the 1000 truths
  28. 28. The Selling Process
  29. 29. It's all about the relationship Make salespeople better community members Commercial relationships complete the picture
  30. 30. Effective OSS selling Know that some will never buy Know your target customer Probably a
  31. 31. Sales vs Users Commercial Open Source Total users Total users Sale Sale
  32. 32. Wrap up Pick your license carefully Product over services Be good to your community
  33. 33. 50% off Training Day Pass (~$350 value!)! ! Discount Code: OSCON50! *Valid through Thursday, July 24th!  ! Register: datastax.com/ cassandrasummit14 Exclusive OSCON Promotion
  34. 34. Thank you and good luck! We’re hiring awesome engineers! Ask me about it. ! Follow me for more musings @PatrickMcFadin

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