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Open Source Businesses Software The Almighty Buck

Open Source Payday 129

itwbennett writes "The recent Slashdot discussion on the open source community's attitude on profits neglected an important point: 'no profits' doesn't mean 'no money.' There are plenty of open source not-for-profit organizations that take in millions of dollars in order to pursue their public-minded missions, and some pay their employees handsomely. Brian Proffitt combed through the latest publicly available financial information on 18 top FLOSS organizations to bring you the cold, hard numbers."
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Open Source Payday

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  • H. Peter Anvin (Score:5, Informative)

    by game kid ( 805301 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @04:33AM (#39464759) Homepage

    The source article mispells H. Peter Anvin [] as "Alvin" where he's listed for "The Linux Kernel Organization". I normally wouldn't have cared but for all the times I've seen his name on various Linux bootloaders...he's kind of a big deal. :)

  • Some do (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @05:47AM (#39464903)

    You find a number of people like OSS not because it is free as in speech but because they don't want to pay for anything. They don't tend to claim that is the reason, of course, but it is. I've met more than a couple people that were big OSS heads and claimed it was all about freedom of the code (though they never did anything with it themselves) but were completely opposed to the idea of paying for any software.

    How they expected developers to put food on the table I'm not sure.

  • Re:Plenty? millions? (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @07:32AM (#39465099) Homepage

    Hmm, just because the foundations don't get a lot, doesn't mean the programmers don't - some (many?) of them are employed by other companies.

    For example, the creator of Python, Guido van Rossum, is employed by Google not by the PSF, so you can be well sure he gets more than $30k/year.

  • by ix42 ( 222898 ) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @08:05AM (#39465207)

    I don't hate RH. I like RH. I'm kind of annoyed with RHEL because people keep using ancient bug-ridden libraries and blaming me.

    I've lost track of the number of times I've had this conversation:

    Them: Foo doesn't work. Fix it. Fix it now.
    Me: That was fixed upstream in library bar 7 years ago.
    Them: We use RHEL4, and our policy won't let us install 3rd party library update packages.
    Me: So you have an expensive contract. I'm sure RedHat will provide an official patch.
    Them: Actually, we use CentOS4.
    Me: . o O (Go buy a RHEL contract, you cheapskates. Or change your idiotic policy.)

    But that's not RedHat's fault.

  • Saying things to make the subject go away avoids useful investigation. As usual, the money needs understanding.

    For example, Mozilla Foundation is a rich, rich corporation. No one should make the mistake of thinking that work on Firefox is done mostly by volunteers.

    But where does all the money go? Did you see $78.6 million worth of improvements in Firefox in 2008? []

    Did you see improvements suggesting that Mozilla Foundation had $168 million in assets in 2010? [] -- (Official PDF file, see page 2. Numbers are in thousands, as it says at the top of the page.)

    Firefox is a world-class asset. No other browser has all the features. There is no substitute for the capabilities of Firefox together with Firefox add-ons. (Mozilla Foundation calls one thing by 3 names: Add-ons, extensions, and plug-ins.)

    But Firefox is unstable. Firefox instabilities are experienced most frequently by those who open many Firefox windows and tabs, and leave them open while putting the computer into standby or hibernation several times. That is the pattern of use of those who do a lot of online research. The crashes and memory gobbling have been reported for more than 10 years, since version 0.9 of Mozilla Suite [], before Mozilla began using the name Firefox. Firefox is still unstable even though the change reports for almost every version say there have been "stability improvements".

    Firefox crash info:

    Put about:crashes into your URL bar and press ENTER. Firefox will then show a list of crashes of the copy of Firefox on that computer.

    Crash info for all users and all versions: []

    Crashes per 100 active daily users, version 10.0, the version before the most recent: []

    Version 11 is less stable. Crashes per 100 active daily users, version 11.0, the most recent version: []

    Top crashers, version 11.0: []


    1) The lists of crashes are ONLY the ones that Firefox caught and that were submitted. The lists do NOT include crashes that did't start the crash reporter. The lists do NOT include crashes that weren't submitted to Mozilla Foundation.

    2) The crashes are often preceded by rapidly increasing memory use. Firefox often corrupts Microsoft Windows, so that Windows needs to be re-started. When Firefox corrupts Microsoft Windows it often damages operations in Windows that are not connected with browsing.
  • by Mandrel ( 765308 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @01:05AM (#39471771)

    1.-You are allowed to have the code, 2.-You are free to modify that code for personal use in any way you desire, 3.-If you distribute that code YOU MUST PAY for a license, which must be offered.

    I'm not clear exactly how this would work. Is it similar to my Rails Wheels Licence []?

    Under a Rails Wheels licence, although a software package's source and build system must be made available, the software's owner has the option to only allow people who have paid for the software to run it in other than a test system.

    Second, other developers can freely fork the software, but if they re-distribute it they must pay the original developer their normal asking price for each copy they distribute, meaning that they'll usually have to charge at least as much, keeping any premium their enhanced package can charge.

    This makes the licence differ from a FOSS licence in two respects: The freedom to run (FSF Freedom 0) restricted to paying customers; and redistribution can require a per-copy fee to be paid to the original developer (though is otherwise unfettered).

    Such a system can percolate money up fork trees so that each fork only gets paid for the value they add. All the FOSS benefits of being able to tinker with the software are unchanged.

    I think an app marketplace centred around this licence would be a way to make commercial 100% open source software a reality, where by commercial I mean charging for the software itself rather than back door methods like product placement (Mozilla), support, donations, or proprietary extensions.

I am a computer. I am dumber than any human and smarter than any administrator.