A STUDY ABOUT OPEN SOURCE PRODUCTS AND BUSINESS
Open source products and business may seem complicated and mysterious at first. Questions such as what is an open source product? How does it work? Which communities are involved and why business platforms should adopt it could be involved and raised at the same time.
The concept of open source software rose in the 1970’s with Richard Stallman. He altered the source code of a printer that regularly jammed. But when the lab got a new printer, Stallman discovered that the source code of it was inaccessible. Because of its proprietary rights it remained out of his reach and ultimately led him to quit his job. With this, he developed a completely new open source operating system called GNU in 1983. However, the proprietary software continued to dominate over the market because of the lucrative advantages that were attached with it. However, in 1991, LINUX OPERATING SYSTEM was launched with a similar feature to GNU. Companies like Nasa and Dell started to participate in its open source software development program. With this, other open source projects like the MySQL ( a database system ) and Apache ( web-server ) gained popularity. Now let us go through a detailed explanation.
What is an open source product or an OSS( OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE )? Open source products are the end products of the product creators whose source codes are kept open to the public. Due to its flexibility, people can view the code and desired programmers can modify it ,alter it to meet their personal needs and can redistribute it to other active developers within the community.
It is majorly done in hope that the end product is further developed so that the newly derived product can be sold in the market with better features and productivity. This is where open source holds its core advantage. Developers are remotely engaged together for the same goal, collaborating innovatively and contributing actively.
Let’s go through examples to understand it better-
Libre office ( used for documents, presentations, spreadsheets and databases ) VLC media player ( used for audio files, video files, webcams and streaming podcasts ) GIMP ( used for photo editing ) are all OSS and open source products, whose source code are available to the people and accordingly any successful innovation edited to it is updated to all the users. For example- android software updates. Today, millions of other projects like this run across worldwide. However, it is not only subjected to coding ! People are engaged in all kinds of activities. Some fix bugs, some provide technical assistance, like writing documents and designing the layouts.
ONE CAN WORK ON OPEN SOURCE PROJECTS SUCH AS ;
1. Open source CRM-( customer service management ) Freshsales HubSpot CRM Flowlu 2. Open source project management Trello Zoho 3. Blockchain open source Hyper ledger Ripple
TODAY MOST OF THE PROJECTS ARE MADE AVAILABLE ON OPEN SOURCE PLATFORMS. FOR EG- THE COVID-19. EVERYDAY DATA IS BEING SUBMITTED AND CHANGED, RECORDED AND REPORTED.
WHAT ARE OPEN SOURCE BUSINESS ? Companies who make their business protocol as open source and believe in developing their company through networking of human talent is called an open source business. HOWEVER , AN OPEN SOURCE BUSINESS COULD BE UNDERSTOOD ONLY BY ITS SOFTWARE’S LICENSING ASPECT, these are-
1.Proprietary licensing 2.Open source licensing 3.Dual licensing
1. PROPRIETARY LICENSING Proprietary licensing is created to maintain confidentiality, control distribution and generate profit. Here, the licensor forms certain restrictions on a licensees’ part such as the licensee is not allowed to modify or inspect the underlying source code. Licensees in proprietary licensing need to pay fees to the licensor in order to use the product, monetizing the licensor’s software. For eg, Microsoft Windows.
2 .OPEN SOURCE LICENSING Open source licensing does not preclude licensors from using the corresponding software from using it commercially but certain restrictions are made for future licensee distribution of that software.
1. Permissive open source licenses such as apache software licensing and BSD ( Berkeley distribution license ). Here the source codes can be modified and distributed but under the licensing protocol. 2. Restrictive open source licenses also called as copyleft licenses – GPL ( General public license ). This means any software written under GPL component must be released as open source.
3. DUAL LICENSING Dual licensing is subjected to both the proprietary and open source licensing. For example, oracle’s MySQL database management system. Oracle uses both proprietary and open source license. Licensees can incorporate proprietary rights to their modified source code . Where the modified source code is restricted for being used for further development. Now in the second case the modified source code is distributed under permissive or restrictive open source license, where right to alteration can be done under the license’s protocol.
WORKING OF OPEN SOURCE BUSINESS
Open source projects are put in open source platforms such as GitHub. GitHub is the interface for developers to collaborate on projects that interests them. GitHub being a host for millions of projects today, is used by companies to attract talented labor for quick development of their software. As for Google, it contributed over 28,000 OSS projects in 2018.
Now the question arises how open source businesses make money when their source code is placed for free? The answer to this is by creating a selling support system, subscription and inducing commercial version of software.
REDHAT FOUNDED IN 1993, figured out a successful business model. REDHAT LINUX SOFTWARE can be downloaded for free but any business wanting for greater technical support and high security is needed to buy a subscription thus monetizing it.
HOW DEVELOPERS MAKE MONEY?
Developers on GitHub are funded through a sponsorship model. Other than that developers can earn money by controlling the distribution of the modified source code under the license protocol.
Today open source business strategies are overtaking all the traditional business models. It is becoming more popular for it being able to collaborate with all kinds of communities worldwide timelessly. Open innovation takes place with synergies. It accumulates greater revenue with less costs and less legal fees. Parallelly, products are better and more innovative.
It has resulted in the highest velocity software development in the history of computers. From developers, bug fixers, technical assistance to data analysts and customer service providers, all kinds of working profiles are involved. Millions of people and businesses are attracted towards this platform today and there is a huge futuristic scope.
Businesses are limited not only to infrastructural boundaries today. It enjoys the perk to connect with millions of potential bodies. Additionally, it has resulted in the fastest growth in technology till date.