Struggling to Find an Open Source Business Model

by Grant Paton-Simpson


After more than 45,000 downloads, the open source Python project SOFA Statistics has netted $90 (not $90k, just $90). This presentation will explain strategies tried so far, and the options available to open source projects.


  • Surely must be possible to sell affordable to at least 0.5-2%
  • Apparently a common rate for single-vendor commercial open source firms


When you play the role of market spoiler it’s much easier to be famous than rich


99% of the people who say, “The app store is a gold mine! I’m gonna be rich” are wrong

Why an open source business model?

  • Low starting costs
  • Lower risk of assets than an inventory system

Successful open source business models

  • Android:
  • Redhat: Enterprise guarantees as a business model
  • Mozilla: He says it is Google (sugar daddy) but this is not true: Mozilla cleans up on advertising
  • Eclipse: IDE support


  • Vulture Model: Pick up projects abandoned/dropped/screwed by Oracle
  • Bounty Model: Throw out money to get something done
  • Honey Model: TODO - find this out


“People who complain about open source companies closing off parts of their code generally haven’t tried to make money off of their open source projects. I suggest they go and try to do it.”