Selling free software

Joey Frazee from Databricks

May 13th, 2019, 1:10 PM (duration: 20 minute)

Location: Revolution Brewing- Brewpub

Open source software is a ubiquitous part of the technology space whether you’re talking about academia, hobbyists, enterprise software vendors, or enterprises themselves. Despite this, using and contributing to open source projects, ASF or otherwise, remains poorly understood and it’s notoriously difficult to navigate the landscape of licenses, business models & approaches to governance, as well as build sustainable communities. In this talk I’ll look at what it takes to “sell” free, open source software from multiple perspectives: (1) vendors, (2) project leaders, and (3) corporate contributors (actual or aspirational). I’ll first review viable business models (e.g., support, SaaS, hybrid OSS-proprietary, etc.). Next, I’ll look at some different approaches to open source project management, with an eye for lessons learned in the Apache incubator. After that I’ll discuss the value of corporate contributions. And, I’ll close with a discussion of the importance of ASF-style community- and commercial-friendly governance and licenses, and why the trend towards more restrictive licensing and closed communities undermines open source projects and business alike.

A Case Study (What We Did) presented as Regular Talk in the Shark Tank track.