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Submission + - Convincing your company to go Open Source 1

Cycon writes: "No doubt asked previously, but what are today's most compelling arguments (pro or con) for a small company to release its software under an Open Source license, in particular the GPL? Current and future fund raising may be jeopardized or at least complicated. There may be fears competitors will more easily absorb your unique features, or a larger entity will leverage your work and push you aside. On the positive side is ethical merit — which beyond as its own end may offer community benefits such as code contributions, constructive testing and feedback, and perhaps some good press. Lawyers may be required for the finer points, but what should any realistic business consider?"
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Convincing your company to go Open Source

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  • by xzvf ( 924443 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @10:40AM (#29260553)
    A proprietary software company has to spend a great deal of time marketing and selling its software. This is especially true if the company is small and has no reputation. You could convince a small number of companies to install your software at an 80% margin, but if you don't have a large and growing install base you'll be reliant on that small number of customers for your entire business. And you'll have to defend your turf against every marketing/sales type that walks through your customer's door. The other alternative is open sourcing your product, letting lots of people download and use your software and getting a large installed base. You can then sell support or enhanced feature plugins. Your margins will be tighter because support has higher costs than just throwing software over the wall, you will likely only get 10-15% of the users of your software to give you money but you'll have a deeper pool of customers. It is a tough call, but I suspect a slice of a huge pie is more reliable and stable than the whole mini pie. I think the question you have to ask yourself is whether the software you want to create is a niche product that only has a small number of customers or a general product that can be used by anyone.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"