Is service the answer to the open source war?

Is service the answer to the open source war?

Summary: The idea of selling service unites the closed source and open source worlds. Increasingly software needs the regular updates that makes selling it as a service look attractive.

TOPICS: Open Source

At the end of his interview with  Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik today our own Dan Farber had a line that caught my eye:

Open source business models and licenses, as well as models for proprietary software, will continue to evolve. What’s more clear is that software as a service is going to continue to gain traction, and enterprises will be less concerned whether it’s proprietary or open source or hybrid code underneath. It’s about what works best at what price to solve a particular problem…

Both open source and closed source publishers regularly charge by subscription, usually for services necessary to a program's operation. Security is nearly always sold this way. Patching and updating are also behind the services trend.

I've been in touch with the folks at FireTrust, in New Zealand, about their FirstAlert! anti-spam database. (More on that later.)  You buy their proprietary MailWasher Pro package once, or download their open source MailWasher Server, but it's the $9.95/year ($2 for the server) FirstAlert! service that makes both go. And it may be that over time, it's that regular update, sold by subscription, that will make the company go, regardless of whether people are using its closed source or open source solutions.  

The idea of selling service unites the closed source and open source worlds. Increasingly software needs the regular updates that makes selling it as a service look attractive.

What do you think? Is this the way to software unity and peace? Is the idea of selling software as a service at least something we can agree on? Let us know at TalkBack.

Topic: Open Source

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  • No

    I want to purchase it outright. That's it be done. , along with many other home consumers don't want another "utility" bill especially for something that is supposed to be transparent in our lives.

    Guess that is why I took it upon myself to learn Linux and support my own systems.
    Linux User 147560
  • It's sad reality!

    It is sad reality that big IT businesses are indulging in open-source foray. Generally speaking, open-source systems tend to be lower-quality than proprietary products where companies do their best to have product superiority.

    Eventually, companies not developing innovative s/w products will be phased out. After all companies like IBM, Dell, HP, etc., will become just hardware manufacturers. They will not be considered as s/w vendors.

    In the long term, this may help Microsoft greatly. I urge big businesses to devote more on own innovative products!
  • pay the piper

    Not much is free these days, rent, food, internet access, so assuming that everything will remain free is a little naive, that said I hope that the products I pay for will allow me to tinker, understand, view, modify or blow up if that is what I want to do.
    It seems unfair to sell products that are "magic", I mean how much confidence can I have in something I have little or no way of proving is working? Maybe my ads cut down their frequency because the companies sending them out went out of business, maybe my os sucks because I have a combination of peripherals that the "os guys" never thought of. Maybe I'm smarter than them, who knows.
    Software is complex, and unfortunately much of it is built off of the backs of others that have preceeded them. To lock away the code stifles creativity. We are still driving a model T here, as the computer is barely 50 years old, wait for another 50 years and see how laughable this whole business is. I hope that a new business model comes along so that even though the work being done now is at the bottom of the pyramid, it doesn't weigh down innovation with royalties, secrets, and lost effort.