The hybrid model in open source

The hybrid model adds a third dimension to the open source incline. The idea is that you stand at the corner of sharing and self-interest. You can adjust license terms to gain more support, or you can offer different terms to different customers in the name of self-interest.

In order to get more mileage from their efforts I'm seeing more and more open source companies adopt a hybrid model. (The shirt shows a mule train pulling a car. Available from Muledesign.)

Hybrid licensing comes in three flavors:

  1. An open source developer holds out some code as proprietary. Medsphere is doing this.
  2. An open source developer sells an enhanced "pro" version of their code. Pentaho does this.
  3. An open source developer offers a commercial license to customers who don't want the obligation of donating code back to the project. OpenClovis does this.

I don't believe any of this violates an open source principle because there is no such thing. Open source is a business movement rather than a political or business movement. FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) developers choose to have principles. Open source developers prefer to eat.

The hybrid model adds a third dimension to the open source incline. The idea is that you stand at the corner of sharing and self-interest. You can adjust license terms to gain more support, or you can offer different terms to different customers in the name of self-interest.

Got a problem with that?

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