Software surrounds us. It comes into shape in household appliances, vehicles, health devices. Much of this software incorporates open source components. For example, pace maker might incorporate an embedded, open-source operating system.
Open source has become an oxygen for software companies, particularly startups. It is valuable because of the wealth of the available resources and solutions. Companies build on the efforts and expertise of hundreds of thousands of people. We believe through our own experience that business can thrive with open source.
As once stated by Richard Stallman, “when we call software ‘free’, we mean that it respects the user’s essential freedoms: the freedom to run it for any purpose, to study and change it, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. This is a matter of freedom, not price, so think of ‘free speech’, not ‘free beer’.”(See https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.en.html). This freedom of the user can only be achieved by Open Source Software. We should all acknowledge and some already acknowledge that open source does not automaticalluy mean price-free software.
In the software business, it is important that there is a mutual trust between customers and vendor. Products must truly empower and benefit the customer. Most importantly, the users must have a right to use the software as they want. All of this should be available within the customers finite budget. Lot of my fellow software engineers and entrepreneurs agree with me that the only way of achieving these benefits to customers are by using open source and delivering products with fully source to the customers. As Jim Whitehurst, CEO, Red Hat said once, “Open source isn’t about saving money, it’s about doing more stuff, and getting incremental innovation with the finite budget you have.”
By providing the product as an Open source, vendors automatically build a trustful relationship with customers. Vendors can also showcase their development process and skillset with transparency. Also, customers will be empowered with freedom and choices. This will even build relationship deeper and brings a very new level of transparency. When the software vendors relationship & trust with the customers is strong then business will automatically grow. So, it is important to select a business model with open source which should not ignore the value of empowering their customers with freedom and openness.
I started my career as a software engineer more than 20 year ago. Now I am an entrepreneur, founder and CEO of fully open source product company APInf. I will be sharing my journey into open source world and my experiences building open source business during my keynote speech at Mindtrek 2017 on 20 September at 11.00. Please feel free to send me any questions or ideas you might have to my mail id ccsr at apinf.io
CEO, APInf Oy