Friday, June 19, 2009

Doing Free Right

Recently while researching a technology solution for a client, I came across a vendor who touted their application as "commercial open source". That oxymoron (to my mind at least) had me stumped at first. After reading round a little, I realized that the chassis and the platform they had used to build their product was open-source but the solution they had developed using it was proprietary. So, all of the code would would not be freely available plus you would need to pay a licensing fee to use their product.

Compared to the purely commercial applications in the same space, their pricing was attractive but there was not a great deal of track-record to go by either. With the rising number of offerings in the open-source arena, anyone with a good idea and the perseverance to bring it to fruition can do so at little to no cost and that sounds wonderful in theory. While many are attempting to do just this not every enterprise hits pay dirt. This article in Techdirt titled Free Gone Wrong..Or Free Done Wrong may have an answer to why that may be the case.

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