The Best Open Source Business Models
JBoss Leads the Way
Discovering the perfect formula for profiting from an open source project is not easy. There are countless variables that must be considered, many of which determine early on whether or not a project will be successful with the community using it.
The rub, however, is that discovering true success in monetizing these open source efforts does not happen easily. It takes a clear understanding of which business models work, and the best way to implement them from a long-term standpoint.
Without a doubt, my all-time favorite open source business model has to be selling pre-configured devices or services using the open source products. It's simple: you're effectively selling something sustainable and tangible for the end user, while allowing the community to use the open source project as they see fit.
One strong example would be JBoss, which is a division of Red Hat. JBoss has managed to sell conferences, support, certification, even a reference manual. Each of these profit centers provides a strong revenue stream. Providing a strong application server platform--along with a company of services and development concepts to support--JBoss has certainly been able to use the community to help develop their vision using the Java 2 Platform.
What has always struck me about this model used by JBoss was the diversity in their revenue model. And by utilizing enterprise users as their target market, JBoss is ensured plenty of revenue with their multiple income streams.