How to make money in Open Source

You may have heard about the Open Source concept. It is on your phone, your computer, and it even runs the website where you’re reading this article. Thousands of companies realized that they could make money and  at the same time make their software available for free, so now they have placed open source softwares at the center of their businesses.

But how do they make money from something being offered for free?

They could do well by doing good.
First of all, everyone must be motivated to contribute for a reason, they must turn their selfishness into something that everyone benefits from. All the contributors become equal. Sharing the code allows everyone to concentrate on the quality of the software, not on the licensing issues.

In fact, they make money with free software in exactly the same way as with proprietary software: by building a great product, marketing it withskills and imagination, looking for customers, thereby building a brand synonymous with quality and service.

They have to offer to their customers solutions that others cannot or will not offer. At this level, free software (open source) is not a drawback, but an advantage. The open source development model leads to a stable, flexible, and a highly adaptable software to specific needs.

Thus, open source companies have a product whose quality could fulfil the customer’s needs and expectations, and they only have to find an efficient way to earn money while leaving the benefits of such programs to the customer.

Here are some ways companies use open source to profitable ends:

  • Open-sourcing code to reduce support costs
    Due to a well-documented open source software, customers can answer their own questions without waiting for a support technician. With an open source community, everyone can benefit from the access to the open source.
  • Open-source to reduce development costs
    Does your company need a new tool, a customized feature or an application? Developing it in-house would cost a lot, but choosing an open source version could reduce your development expenses.
  • Open-source to develop shared standards
    Every business and marketplace needs a set of standards so that customers know what to expect and businesses know what to build. Open source can often help create these standards of interoperability.
  • Open source as low-cost marketing
    Releasing the product as an open source package can attract users who will be curious to test the product and discover what it does. The product speaks for itself and brings in the users, then the sales force steps in when it’s time to upsell.
  • Open-source to control the future
    “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
    Why do some companies pay their employees to work on open source projects and then donate the codes that they spent a lot of money to create? Because they want to make sure they could influence the way the code base is developped, and the easiest way to do this is to contribute lines of code.

La Croisée des Talents 2015

I am back from “La Croisée des Talents”, the biggest student management and eloquence competition in Europe organized by a student association of the EDHEC Business School.

There were around 400 students coming from the French universities and schools and also from abroad, gathered during a two days event to compete on different topics (negotiation, decision making, communication campaign, public speaking …).

This year, there were 4 big companies that were partners of this event: Allianz, Saint-Gobain, Orange and Kering. Each of them was responsible for a different Business Game.

I did not win the competition this year, but I’m very happy to had the opportunity to participate and to meet very interesting people.


Why it is important for a company to organize information?

Nowadays information is everywhere! But it is not always easily available.

Every day, in every organization, a lot of information is generated. That could be data about customers, R&D knowledge or a particular know-how of a very specialized company. We can find that information in many different ways, such as emails, paper-notes, documents, or sometimes only via verbal communication.

The availability of these various types of information could be critical for the good working of a company. Well-functioning information management can increase employees’ productivity by enabling them to find crucial information efficiently at any moment needed.

But what does it mean to have a good organization of information?

Ineffic135872485ient company-wide information distribution can considerably increase the likelihood that not only information, but also physical objects could easily be lost or inaccessible. For example paper-notes could be lost, emails could be accidentally deleted, people will not even know that an employee could have a very interesting document on his computer; employees could leave the company with valuable knowledge that has never been written.

A good organization of information means to centralize it when it is possible, to keep track of all the data available around the company and to have some process for ensuring that employees will keep information in format that could be preserved. That also means that they have the correct tools to share all the information they could have. These measures can enable to maximize efficiency of the usually necessary transition period for new employees joining the company.

A good organization of course means that this efficiency is evident in all aspects of company management. Thus increased efficiency makes workers to be more productive, reduces work-related stress and saves time – employees spending less time for searching information can definitely give such positive outcome. Establishing an efficient workplace means establishing a structure. By doing so, workers are able to accomplish more and generate more business. Having the information well-organized inside the company could also bring additional value by allowing data mining possibilities.

Finally, well-organized information can also mean improved security because it allows specification of which relevant parties can access relevant types of information according to well-regulated procedures.

To conclude, we can say that it is very important for a company to organize information because it brings value and productivity. Whereas at the opposite case – a company without good organization could experience disastrous incidents of possibly severe data and asset loss as well as deprive the potential of their employees.

XWiki at the FOSDEM 2014!

XWiki’s 2014 Events Season started with the participation in FOSDEM, the biggest free Open Source event in Europe, where communities can meet, share ideas and collaborate.

The XWiki SAS team, from both the Paris and Iasi offices, was present for 2 days in Brussels on February 1stand 2nd. We participated in a Wikis Developer Room where the discussions were centered around new features, compatibility and integration with other tools and services, lessons learned from deployments, surveys, research and development, and cross-project collaboration.

Given this was an open event with free access, the number of participants is unknown, but we do know there were 8333 unique MAC addresses (over 2 days) and more than 445 speakers! So we can estimate that there were between 5.500 et 10.000 participants.

FOSDEM offered a great opportunity to meet other actors in the Open Source community and provided the perfect platform for information exchange.

For more information, click here.