|Subject:||It's very hard to make money from free software Re: [Fsuk-manchester] RMS on Swedish Pirate Party vs Free Software|
|Date:||Thu, 30 Jul 2009 13:02:19 +0100|
... this is interesting. This last branch of posts has focused on one small, but important, part of software freedoms.
I went to a talk about free software last year and this point came up over an over again.: "How do I earn money from free software?". As far as I could tell no satisfactory answer was ever given.
Red Hat seems to make its money from support, implementation and admin too.
It's becoming clear to me that the question might be too broad (as in "What's the meaning of life?" - great question but it means a different thing to just about every individual, so can't be answered satisfactorily), so asking a more specific question might be helpful.
One such question might be "How do I run a commercial business that creates free software products?". If the answer is "... by selling services to support and modify them", that's fine for some who are providing services for existing products but not for others who want to create new products as the effort (and investment) put into creating them in the first place needs to be balanced by income, within a sensible timescale.
For example, if the investment is many people years before a viable product is available to be implemented and, hence, used as a vehicle to sell services, the services income must be able to recoup this (historical) investment as well as cover (current) R&D, admin etc and still leave enough to pay a good rate to the technical people (development and customer facing service delivery) who are doing the work that brings the money in. However, service rates are pegged to a market expectation of a fairly low hourly/daily rate so it's not a great financial model on which to base a business. The traditional way to get around this has been to sell the software to increase earnings.
What's a realistic alternative?
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