Archive for June, 2009

Open Source Business Models

June 29, 2009

The vast majority of the systems we run are Open Source – for a simple reason; we are a small company and we want to produce enterprise grade solutions at a fraction of the price that a serious Enterprise would pay. We simply can’t afford to pay the amounts that the Enterprises pay. Not until we are making considerably more money than we are currently.

Having said that however, we are responsible citizens¬† and would like to contribute back where we can. Generally, that is either in code contributions or by paying for the software that we use. Code contributions are difficult, we don’t have a lot of time to spend on making changes to the software that we use. We also use far more than would be practical for us to be across. So we pick one or two systems that we really need more from and contribute to those.

For the rest, we would love to be able to pay reasonable amounts of money for them. The issue is that invariably the pricing structure is either free or enterprise grade (i.e. >= $10k per CPU per year) style pricing. This includes support, escalations etc. The trouble is that this leaves us with no option to really pay anything.¬† Personally I would have thought there would be thousands more companies like us than there are major enterprises willing to pay. I would like to see products costed at $1k per year for access to the product (via RPM) and security updates. I don’t need the support (not at that price anyway).

The products that do provide that level of pricing, I pay for, the rest, I use for free. While I feel guilty about that, until the business models of the companies providing these systems change, there is not much else I can do.