Posted by: Anonymous Coward
on May 02, 2003 11:06 PM
Fine, OSS/FS is great for people working part-time, studying or have some -Other- source of income.
My question is, after I graduate, what are my chances of becoming a Professional OpenSource Developer AND surviving the market/world with my New FS Company?
If you look at the OSS guys, they give the following business models for professional (read: money earning) OSS/FS development:
1. Support Sellers (otherwise known as "Give Away the Recipe, Open A Restaurant"): In this model, you (effectively) give away the software product, but sell distribution, branding, and after-sale service. This is what (for example) Red Hat does.
But you can't really do that till your software is big/complex (or at times with bad help and documentation). And selling Distributions? C'mon! you want to make a business out of selling CD's and mailing? This model is only applicable if my software/company is big enough
2. Loss Leader: In this model, you give away open-source as a loss-leader and market positioner for closed software. This is what Netscape is doing.
Again, this isn't from a startup position. But would anyone please elaborate on this one?
3. Widget Frosting: In this model, a hardware company (for which software is a necessary adjunct but strictly a cost rather than profit center) goes open-source in order to get better drivers and interface tools cheaper. Silicon Graphics, for example, supports and ships Samba.
I dont really understand the full implications of this, anyone care to elaborate as to how this could be useful to me as a new company starting up on OSS?
4. Accessorizing: Selling accessories – books, compatible hardware, complete systems with open-source software pre-installed. It's easy to trivialize this (open-source T-shirts, coffee mugs, Linux penguin dolls) but at least the books and hardware underly some clear successes: O'Reilly Associates, SSC, and VA Research are among them.
A business model? selling coffee mugs? Linux Penguin Dolls? This is not what I as a software developer want, Not at all!!
All in all, how can I, start a OpenSource Software house and earn a living. Or is the fact of the matter that OSS/FS only a hobbyist domain and any attempts to live off it are shot down.
People above have mentioned that they get to write "OSS projects on our CV" and that looks impressive. Impressive to get them into Software Houses which end up making them Closed Software Developers?