When we tell people of our recent decision to take Warewolf open source, we often get questions like “Why have you done that?” and “How will you make money?” So here are our top six reasons to take your software open source:
1. Being open source gives you access to new markets
With the trend to open source software worldwide, new markets are becoming available for users and business. On the business side, the software you are offering comes with much more appeal to broader communities of users. Your market grows from typical end users to include active open source contributors.
With this large proportion of users being developers of the application, they are able to grow the application to suit their needs. The needs that a company may never even know exist. With this comes entirely new and unique markets that need satisfying.
2. Going open source makes commercial sense
In the world of proprietary software, companies are forced to adopt a licensed or subscription model. In our case, Warewolf being desktop software, we would have had to look at the former. With licensing comes the complexity of multiple versions being used, managing and updating licenses, inconsistent revenue streams and higher development costs.
With open source there are also much simpler and more sustainable options for revenue in support contracts and consulting fees. You’re also able to get collaboration from the community, which helps keep development costs down and ultimately support costs too.
3. Open source projects are not limited by developer shortages
There is a huge demand for software developers around the globe, but not all companies are physically located where the supply is. Being opens source, everybody wins – the average developer can have access to world-class software, and the application can be enhanced by world-class, passionate developers.
4. Open source is great for all software and technology
If you look at the history of open source, software developers were the very first group of people to formally bring free sharing of technological information to life. Software developers seem to be the only community that have truly taken open source to heart and are driving this initiative in a commercial world.
With this open invitation for anyone in the world to be able to add their wisdom, experience and skills to a project, the possibilities are unlimited. Innovation just happens naturally.
5. Open source is great for the end user
Users are not limited to using proprietary software – they are able to choose a free or more affordable open source application. They also get better support through targeted paid support options plus an entire community of users who offer free support.
It creates a sense of trust for end users – they can look under the hood, fully understand the software in a way that can never be translated into documentation or some sales pitch. It’s real and tangible… and they have the power to fix or change anything to suit their needs.
6. Open source is great for developers
So everyone knows that open source initiatives are great for developers, but why? We ran a little study and asked developers why they participate in open source projects. Here are some verbatim comments:
“Experience. You’ll get to use some stuff you probably won’t get to use in your day job.”
“Fun. It will be a project you’ve chosen, so you can enjoy it a bit more.”
“A developer working on open source code is much happier than one who knows that their code may never see the light of day. Even if the project tanks, the developer has the guarantee that what they’ve written will not be flushed down the drain.”
“Freedom. There will probably be fewer rules about what you can use and how funky you can make things (within reason).”
“As far as employability is concerned? Street cred.”
“Some do it because they like to achieve things. They like to solve problems. They like the idea that they are useful in this world.”
“Having the opportunity to work with some really great people. Open source allows you to make connections far outside your normal circle of friends and co-workers.”
“Working on an open source project allows you to develop your skills, learn new things, and gain valuable experience working on a collaborative software project”
Conclusion: The open source philosophy is the way of the future
In conclusion, we soon realised that open source is definitely the way of the future. The open source communities around the world have such a wonderful philosophy of win-win: why not make everything available, we can all contribute and make it better for all of us to share in.
The concept is incredible.
Have you got any other reason to take projects open source? Share your experience in the comments below.