Access and Feeds

Open Source versus Open Core: Freedom versus Profits

By Dick Weisinger

Open Source software is software that uses a license so that the software is free to use but which needs to be developed collaboratively. In it’s purest form, this is known as FOSS (Free and Open Source Software).

Open Core is a business model that tries to monetize commercially-produced Open Source software. The ‘core’ product is typically feature limited and available for free. Additional features that can be applied to the core software are available for a fee. Many open source advocates disagree with the Open-Core approach to open source software. Sometimes this is called COSS (Commercial Open Source Software).

Dave Kellogg, former CEO of Host Analytics and Marklogic, said that “from a vendor perspective, your free/community edition becomes both a major lead generation source and, in a sense, your biggest competitor — if you haven’t put enough value in the enterprise edition over the community edition, then people won’t purchase and/or renew it. And renewals I’m told are the real test.”

Some think that ultimately Open Source software will win out over Open Core.

Ben Bromhead, Chief Technology Officer at Instaclustr, said that “I’m strongly of the opinion that pure open source will be the winner. It’s an inevitable truth of the open source/open core dynamic that all of the most valuable closed-source features offered by open core software products will be replicated in the pure open source versions. We’ve seen this many times over across various open source projects (and contribute to this phenomenon ourselves by developing open source tools when customers demand them). As an open source technology matures, it becomes harder and harder for open core providers to identify opportunities for features that differentiate their product from the 100 percent open source version. Therefore, the natural evolution of open source technology includes mechanisms that eventually leave open core strategies out in the cold, and rightfully so.”

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *