I wrote this article for my college magazine sometime late 2006
The Free Software Business Model: How to make money from something that is free
The term “Free Software” has been misunderstood a lot.So lets set it straight.Any software classified as free software must give you(the user) 3 freedoms-freedom to run the software as and when you wish, freedom to access and modify its source code,freedom to redistribute copies(modified or otherwise) of the software with or without a fee.It also allows you to keep your modifications private.But the question that comes to mind is…..
…. how do I make money from free software? There are various ways in which a software company can make money from free software.Look at HP,IBM,Sun,Red Hat,Google and MySQL.They are thriving examples of companies making money from free software.Its easy,all you need is a sound….
…..business model First you must realize that free software is not a business model in itself. It is only a production and distribution method.Keeping this in mind there can be two alternatives.
….the dual – license model where businesses offer a free version but charge a fee for a commercial license. MySQL and Sun, with Openoffice.org, follow this model.For this you need a compelling value proposition -a software that does,what it is supposed to,very well.Trolltech(you haven’t heard of it) has been growing consistently over the last 10 years using a dual-licensed policy for its Qt GUI development framework.
….the support model where you get software for peanuts but the company charges for support just like Red Hat. It discontinued support for all its Red Hat Linux products and decided to concentrate on the enterprise space(Red Hat Linux Enterprise) giving Red Hat a 40 pc yearly increase in revenue till date.Others like IBM, simply use free software to supply services to enterprise customers.Google is providing services and software for free and making money and lots of it.
In a nutshell if you want to profit from free software, you might need to be more business-savvy than you would in other businesses.But once you gain momentum….Bill Gates and Microsoft could well be history.
Recommended reading: The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric S. Raymond
I have finally got Beryl working on Ubuntu(Fiesty). And I must say its amazing. I have uploaded a youtube video of my Linux desktop. Check it out. Beryl is super-cool. And I love the 3D cube desktop.
Dunno why, but Ubuntu and my Vaio have suddenly stopped responding well to each other. I had installed Ubuntu 6.10 on my Vaio long ago and it worked without a hitch. But I again switched back to Opensuse 10.2. Now after a long time I decided to completely switch over to Ubuntu. But I guess Ubuntu didn’t want it to happen. First I could not boot from the LiveCD.Finally I booted by using the “Install restricted drivers option”. Then ubiquity, the Ubuntu installer failed to start giving cryptic errors. Then when it finally started, installation halted once at 33% and again at 73%. I got my RAM and HDD checked and they showed no errors. The problem seems to be due to my Intel Pro Wireless Card 3945. Something is causing the graphical login window to crash.I had almost given up all hope when I tried the age-old technique…..Alt+F1 to bring up a login window.And voila, it worked. Now I get a text based login screen and I have to manually start the GUI(X Server) using startx. But I am relieved. I expect to solve the problem fully very soon.
Now I am downloading all sorts of packages from the Ubuntu online repository and will make a DVD of it.
Having a great holiday now. And busy with my most favourite things, coding and Linux.
Heard a lot about Ubuntu.So now trying it out. I have been using KDE for the last 5 or more years. But with Ubuntu its GNOME. And I must say, GNOME is good,though I still believe KDE looks somewhat better. I will soon post an article on how to make your Ubuntu GNOME desktop look like MAC OSX. Keep waiting.
As for my experience with ubuntu,it has been good.
Initially there were some hiccups. I wasn’t able to configure my dsl modem because my provider had given the installation file in a rpm package but ubuntu is debian based. Anyway, the command is pppoeconf. This sets up your dsl modem. Updating and installing packages are a breeze with the Synaptic package manger. However I have not been able to configure my nvidia ge force 4 graphics card. I will manage that soon and will post the whole procedure on this blog. The best thing about Ubuntu is the online community. Its really helpful. Solutions to problems get posted in hours. Earlier with Fedora Core and OpenSuse, I had to hunt down the solutions for hours on the web. But not in Ubuntu. Someone had already faced that problem, found the solution and will happily share it with you on the forum.
I am really looking forward to trying out Beryl on Ubuntu. Once I configure my graphics card I will. Another thing I want to try out is XGL. It seems promising.
Oh yes, I will soon come out with an article on WinFS. I will also detail what plans the Linux community has to answer it.