An interesting discussion has been spreading across some of the Domino Blogs since the London Developers
Piss Up Meeting the other night. How can people make money from Open Source development?
As the number of Open Source projects for Lotus Domino increases there does come a point when somebody will want to start making money. As Steve Castledine mentions in a response on NotesTips, Open Source doesn’t pay the bills.
Steve has jumped onto one of the many ways of making money from open source software by splitting the license agreement so that personal use and non-profit organisations can make full use of his offerings without having to pay a license fee while commercial companies that make profit would have to pay a fee. The only issue with this is hoping that commercial companies will make the payments and not just use the software without paying.
Another way of making money from open source software is not by selling the software but by selling the service and support that goes along with the software. Take the OpenNTF mail template for example. If you have a big customer who is using ND6 why not show them the mail template. Show off the features. Sell the IDEA to them, then when they buy in charge them what ever it takes to roll out the product within their environment. Then charge them again for supporting it.
The same can be applied to BlogSphere. If you know a company that needs a website and you think BlogSphere can fit the bill then sell them the IDEA and then charge them the time it takes to configure the template to suite their environment. Use it as a base point for a new application. Use the ideas for developing a customised application. The main point is your not selling the template itself, your selling the service and support.
Don’t think it could work… Look at Linux. It is an open source OS. Go to RedHat and download it for free. No Support No Help. Yet their Enterprise server edition can cost upwards of 800 dollars for the software, printed manual and service and support.
That is how we make money from Open Source Software.