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How can large open source projects be monetized?

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Eurostaff: the opportunity of open source

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How can large open source projects be monetized?

  1. 1. © 2016, iText Group NV© 2016, iText Group NV EUROSTAFF Connect – Gent How can large open source projects be monetized? Bruno Lowagie, CTO iText Group NV
  2. 2. © 2016, iText Group NV Introduction: who and what? How can large open source projects be monetized?2 Bruno Lowagie Original developer of iText ex-CEO, current CTO at iText Group
  3. 3. © 2016, iText Group NV Awards •BelCham Entrepreneurship Award: “Most Promising Company of the Year 2014” (New York) •Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50: Winner in Belgium (Brussels) 2014 •Best In Business International 2015 Silver Award: “Product of the Year” (USA) •American Business Awards 2015 Bronze Stevie: “Most Innovative Company of the Year” (San Francisco) •European Business Awards 2015/16 National Champion: “Entrepreneur of the Year” (Brussels) •Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50: 2nd place in Belgium (Brussels) •JavaOne Rockstar Award: “IANAL: What developers should know about IP and Legal” (San Francisco) 2015 •European Business Awards 2015/16 National Public Champion: winner of the national vote in Belgium (Milan) •Flanders Investment & Trade 2016: top 3 in the “Lion of the Export” (Brussels) •American Business Awards 2016 Bronze Stevie: “Most Innovative Company of the Year” (New York) •International Business Awards 2016 Silver Stevie: “Most Innovative Company of the Year in Europe” (Rome) •European Business Awards National Champion 2016/17: “Business of the Year with Revenue of 0 to 20M euro” (Brussels) 2016 How can large open source projects be monetized?3
  4. 4. © 2016, iText Group NV An economic law How can large open source projects be monetized?4
  5. 5. © 2016, iText Group NV How can large open source projects be monetized?5 You’re an open source developer…
  6. 6. © 2016, iText Group NV … What are the implications? Users will ask questions on how to use it, Users will demand that you fix bugs, Companies will expect warranties (even if the license says they accept FOSS as-is), Companies will want 100% clarity with respect to the IP, Companies will expect you to maintain and update the software, Companies will want you to upgrade to the newest specifications, You will be cursed if you don’t answer fast / friendly / accurate enough! What if you can’t live up to all these expectations? How can large open source projects be monetized?6
  7. 7. © 2016, iText Group NV How can large open source projects be monetized?7 What can you do about it?
  8. 8. © 2016, iText Group NV Create a business model How can large open source projects be monetized?8 http://www.theserverside.com/news/2240234582/Reflecting-on-open-source-software-Java-9-and-startup-strategies-at-Devoxx-2014 http://www.zdnet.com/article/openssl-needs-corporate-funding-to-avoid-heartbleed-repeat/ http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/04/tech-giants-chastened-by-heartbleed-finally-agree-to-fund-openssl/
  9. 9. © 2016, iText Group NV Ideas to monetize your project How can large open source projects be monetized?9
  10. 10. © 2016, iText Group NV How can large open source projects be monetized?10 iText: the early years
  11. 11. © 2016, iText Group NV Donations How can large open source projects be monetized?11
  12. 12. © 2016, iText Group NV Generating revenue using ads How can large open source projects be monetized? Free online tutorial: • Google AdSense • 2004: $8,900 • 2005: $14,500 • 2006: $6,200 • 2007: $2,350 • 2008: $1,900 • 2009: $1,500 • 2010: $280 • 2011: $520 • 2012: $350 • 2013: $160 12
  13. 13. © 2016, iText Group NV Making money with ads? How can large open source projects be monetized?13
  14. 14. © 2016, iText Group NV Writing documentation How can large open source projects be monetized? 1st Edition: 2006 • 11.600 copies • Approx. $33K 2nd Edition: 2010 • 9.200 copies • Approx. $30K 14
  15. 15. © 2016, iText Group NV Selling support How can large open source projects be monetized?15
  16. 16. © 2016, iText Group NV Selling professional services Not scalable There are only so many hours in a day All time spent on a tailor-made application is time you don’t spend on your product Are you really going to compete against these guys: How can large open source projects be monetized?16
  17. 17. © 2016, iText Group NV How can large open source projects be monetized?17 What did we do at iText?
  18. 18. © 2016, iText Group NV Copyright versus Copyleft Copyright law • allows an author to prohibit others from reproducing, adapting, or distributing copies of the author's work. Copyleft • gives every person who receives a copy of a work permission to reproduce, adapt or distribute the work as long as any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same copyleft licensing scheme. How can large open source projects be monetized? © © 18
  19. 19. © 2016, iText Group NV Open Source License overview How can large open source projects be monetized?19 Original iText license: MPL/LGPL In 2009: switched to AGPLv3
  20. 20. © 2016, iText Group NV GPL-style software licenses It’s all about distribution How can large open source projects be monetized?20 License: MPL / LGPL GPL AGPL Car distribution (e.g. OEM) Commercial use? OK for gratis commercial use Commercial license needed Commercial license needed Bus service (e.g. SaaS) Commercial use? OK for gratis commercial use OK for gratis commercial use Commercial license needed Free/Proprietary Before iText 5: Improvements engine: LGPL Car or bus: can be proprietary Car: must be GPL Bus: can be proprietary Since iText 5: Car or bus: must be AGPL Or: buy commercial license
  21. 21. © 2016, iText Group NV Dual licensing Viral effect of the open source license • The product is available for free for those who accept and comply with the F/OSS license • As soon as the product is also distributed under another license, a commercial license is needed Commercial license for commercial use • The product is available under a custom license for those who pay for the product • Support • Warranty, Indemnification • Release from the requirements of the F/OSS license How can large open source projects be monetized?21
  22. 22. © 2016, iText Group NV Open Core licensing: e.g. iText 7 How can large open source projects be monetized?22 Open source Closed source
  23. 23. © 2016, iText Group NV Business Source License: e.g. MariaDB How can large open source projects be monetized?23 All source code is open, but not “open source”: it’s “business source”. MaxScale is only needed in case of heavy use of MariaDB. This prevents perceived abuse by GAFA & co.
  24. 24. © 2016, iText Group NV How can large open source projects be monetized?24 What are GAFA companies doing? Googleplex, Mountain View, CA
  25. 25. © 2016, iText Group NV When to use a permissive license? How can large open source projects be monetized?25 Suppose that you’re Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, or a similar big corporation
  26. 26. © 2016, iText Group NV Beware of “anti GPL” propaganda How can large open source projects be monetized?26 Suppose that you want to be the next big GAFA company
  27. 27. © 2016, iText Group NV How can large open source projects be monetized?27 Questions from the audience? iText Group NV sales@itextpdf.com +32 9 298 02 31 itextpdf.com

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