Open-Source Software: Peer Production Technology
Matthew J. Banks
Open source software is a free distribution of software and its source code. It is now a utility used by a variety of public and private sectors including education, commerce, networking and telephony, and of all of these by the governments and militaries of the world in one form of another.
The question is if any companies make money by offering open source products. More often than not, the answer is no. If a software creator has the task to create a program they will, but once constructed, the code is either theirs to distribute freely or not. Companies that have become vendors of open source products often rely heavily on freeware and aware advertising to promote their software, in the event that the software utility is obscure. Many useless and unwarranted applications as well as faulty operating systems fall to the wayside as desire and interest go toward useful applications of necessity. If the original code is available as open source, the alterations for new emerging software and its code can be under the same-marketed name, drawing notoriety for the original open source software.
If a particular open source utility becomes widely used, scores of developers can become the engineers and experts for a popular and accepted program, paid a considerable or appropriate amount of payment, bound to a set of standards and quality by a universal tested and certified professionals. Certain industry standards can provide the means for subscription technical support, contract support and employment in industries and locations that require on-site professionals to maintain and upgrade a particular open source offering.
Open source companies most commonly have an open source business model, selling services instead of good to maintain a successful operation. Hired software engineers at the center of a distribution company, develop the code with additional corrections made and published by members of an open source community around the world, considering that the source code is free, public and popular. Successfully functional software is than appended to or replaces the code if tested verified and approved by the vendor.
Open source companies make money when people who use their software pay for technical support, when they purchase distributions and accompanying support, when they purchase additional software components to existing software installations or when buying proprietary hardware, specific to source code, or memorabilia with company logos on them. Recently the situation has developed that open source software is replacing the tasks of existing technologies to which certified professionals are offering training and support as company-trained experts or as individual contractors to a profit for themselves for an OS, application server, database and other software on which end-user applications are built (Montalbano, 2006). In the open source market, the infamous players are Red Hat, Mozilla, Sun Microsystems, IBM, and Google contribute heavily to the open source market with their creations of proprietary and secondary applications designed from the original open source project in the technical world, UNIX/Linux.
Open source operating systems are not the norm, as many market competitors and code developers contest the favor, necessity and acceptance of open source code in the marketplace. Red Hat makes money selling an open source operating system that comes with technical support, distributing the actual data-medium (disc) only with the purchase of implementation and maintenance support, providing security updates when system flaws are discovered (Red Hat). Like many open source operating systems, Red Hat profits from temporary and subscription renewable contract customer service. In fact, it excels at it, making sure that every professional who is to help customers with technical issues, receive training and certification in Red Hat’s vendor specific certification. These professionals may communicate from Red Hat’s central location, or may be on-site specialist sent by the company.
It does not always make sense to purchase open source products for a fee, if you can maintain an installation yourself, efficiency is not required to have a constant throughput and one trust themselves to be confident enough to maintain such a situation, then the ability is at the discretion of the operator. If a free copy of a word processing program exists and important documents need publishing before an unfunded deadline, a student will most likely be in the position to advance their efforts into utilization of the free open source software. Similarly, if an end-user decides to salvage a node for an additional terminal, irrelevant to the productivity of the network, a free solution will save time and money.
Alternatively, subscription assistance services of open source software operating systems and application solutions may be a necessity when considering the value of system efficiency, user productivity and financial damage brought if operations stop for even an instant. Though a free distribution of open source application or operating systems software may be available, how venerated it is may be conspicuous. Free does not mean that software attained is without malicious code or functional by means of a community of fellow users, or that it has documentation to educate proficiency for maintenance without help from experienced professionals. These facts make one wonder if open source programs make any money. A software vendor does not make any money when providing software that goes unneeded or unwanted, but a successful open source solution is unable to ignore.
Montalbano, E. (2006, February 16). Osbc: professional open source grows up. Retrieved from http://www.infoworld.com/t/applications/osbc-professional-open-source-grows-079
Red Hat,. (n.d.). Value of a red hat subscription. Retrieved from http://www.redhat.com/about/mission/business_model.html