I was asked to write something not academic and might has a value! Well what is better than making money from free resources! ..or at least that is what people think of open source business model!

FREE SOFTWARE…AND NOW?

It can be true or false depending on how you interpret the fact of having a free software. It is a fact that you can get the source code for free, it is true you can change and redistribute the new version but the question is how can I make money then!? can I resell the same software?, can I sell a service based on that software?, can I embed open source libraries in my product?, can I this can I that…? These are all the questions people might run into when they decide to work with open source software or technologies.

A TRICKY BUSINESS

In reality open source is a tricky business, there is no straightforward way to make money out of open source and it is painful to some extent if you were not aware of what you are doing. So I thought, I might be able to help with some insights in few lines.

I got involved with open source since 2007 at Carleton University during my master’s research about open source platforms and I started then the journey of open source Business Models discovery.

MONETIZATION: COMPLEMENTARY ASSETS AND BLINDSIDENETWORKS

One of the models that fascinated me was the Complementary Assets one and it was one of the research focus on my own research. Working with complementary assets gives you the freedom take the original software to a different dimension and let you add your own creations without the need to give away your secrets.

An example of that is a small startup called Blindside Networks Inc. in Ottawa, Canada, the company is also behind the creation and development of an open source web conferencing product called BigBlueButton (BBB).

Blindside Networks business model was not to make money off the web conferencing package itself but they sell complementary services for the web conferencing package. Offering integrations of BBB web conferencing software with Learning Management Systems (LMS) platforms such as Moodle, development of customized modules or offering hosting service; were complementary service based on the original web conferencing package. Blindside Networks adds another dimension to the software and managed to master the monetization of such free resource without violating the essence of open source existence.