Many supporters of OpenSource have a negative attitude towards commercial projects based on open source software. In their eyes, a company that, having modified the free software somewhat, closes it and sells it - it parasitizes the open source software community for its own profit. Another part of the Linux-community has nothing against such activities, but at the same time prefers to use completely open and free solutions.
What is the point of view closer to the truth? And who really needs such a non-free free software?
First, I will review the existing commercial Russian projects based on open source software. The list is certainly not exhaustive, but contains a number of illustrative examples of commercialization of OpenSource.ProjectsLinux XP
TrustVers is positioning its Fedora-based system as universal, safe, and as easy to learn as possible for a Windows user. The distribution is completely commercial and does not have free versions. In addition to the products, technical support and training are offered.
Sharp statements about the ideology of OpenSource developers have incurred the wrath of Linux-public. Criticized were the imitation of Microsoft, the distribution conditions of the distribution, work under the default root and others.
WINE @ Etersoft
The product is based on the free Wine project and is designed to run Windows applications on Linux. Improvements made over the course of several years in the St. Petersburg company Etersoft make it possible to work in Linux programs necessary for the activities of Russian organizations: 1C: Enterprise, Consultant, Garant, KOMPAS-3D and others. The most significant improvements relate to the support of security keys, device drivers and ensuring collaboration with resources.
WINE @ Etersoft has both free and commercial versions. Users of the commercial version are available tech support and free updates.
Part of the Linux community criticizes Etersoft for not providing the most important functionality in the free version. Some also believe that by working on ensuring compatibility of Windows applications through Wine, the company is slowing down the development of Linux versions of programs. On the other hand, developers make a tangible contribution to the development of Wine by regularly sending their patches to mainstream.LinuxWizard
Launched in 2007, the St. Petersburg company LinuxWizard is developing server solutions and specialized work stations based on CentOS, there are no free versions.
The main advantages of LW products are automatic installation and customization. The developers guarantee not only that their software will work out of the box, but also that its license purity will not cause doubts when checking. At the company's seminar, where I was, it was said that the entire set of programs in the distribution was patented, and the entire responsibility for the legality of using LW software takes over.
In addition, LinuxWizard separately notes the advantages of its solutions, operational technical support products for customers.
Is the commercialization of a free distribution justified in this case? In some linuksoidov this is in doubt. At the same time, easy installation and configuration can be an advantage from the point of view of people far from IT.
Since LinuxWizard is a young and growing company, time will show how useful its activity will be for ordinary users and open source software.Welltime
The computer telephony application Asterisk is a very popular basis for creating both free and commercial solutions with additional functionality.
Commercial product Welltime IP ATC is a Russian development with multifunctional modular settings, designed to manage the company's telecommunications network. This is the case when a project based on an open source software application has grown into an independent product in which it is not so easy to find out the predecessor.
It is believed that Asterisk is a good basis for creating an IP telephony system, but significant improvements are required in order to get a product that meets the requirements for the availability of the necessary tools and ensure stability. Therefore, such commercial developments are generally welcomed by the IT public.From the developer
Any commercial company, no matter how beautiful the words were written in her mission, its main goal is to make a profit. And that's fine.
Many companies earn money by promoting free software (moreover, these are developers of not only commercial products, but also completely free distributions and programs, as well as implementers and training centers). If you only talk about your product, very few people will be interested. It is necessary to promote open source software in general.
Many commercial companies are ready to “help with business” and offer their patches for free projects.
At the same time, the development itself opens up the way for many companies to switch to Linux. Many obstacles are removed: compatibility issues with Windows applications (in the case of WINE @ Etersoft), difficulties in implementation, the need to verify software licensing (in the case of LinuxWizard), etc.
Therefore, the activities of such companies are far from useless for open source software.By the user
We were taught that the proposal does not appear out of nowhere, but is based on demand. So who can demand commercial free software in Russia?
Suppose a company wants to legalize and abandon pirated Windows, but there is no money for Microsoft licenses. All in general is not against Linux, but full-scale implementation is undesirable - it is difficult, long and unknown, what happens. Then why not pay a conditional amount for the distribution kit (incomparably less than the one that Microsoft is asking for) so that everything is guaranteed to work and the head does not hurt?
This business model is still unusual for Russian users. The main argument for moving to Linux for a company is that you don’t have to pay for licenses. And if a free solution is not free at all, this is not the case.
At the same time, the psychology of consumer-user plays in favor of developers of commercial decisions based on open source software. Once I pay the company, she is responsible for her product. For the fact that I can immediately work with him, and not finish the month. For the fact that tech support will answer when I need it, and not when the developer has time for me. For the fact that I use the software legally, and in which case - all the responsibility in the company that sold the product to me. Unfortunately, developers are not always able to provide such ideal conditions for their clients. But the fact that the product is commercial imposes a number of obligations on the manufacturer and, as a rule, gives a guarantee that the client will not be left alone with his problems.
It is a high level of customer support that allows RedHat to implement solutions in large companies with complex IT infrastructure. And the fee for the distribution in this case is considered absolutely justified. Using the example of RedHat, you can see that in the West, a business model based on free software, made commercial, is not something wild and contrary to the idea of OpenSource. And the Linux community is pretty: RedHat is developing a free Fedor.
Another illustrative non-Russian example is commercial StarOffice, the development of which allows you to constantly support the development of OpenOffice.
I want to believe that someday the Russian developers will achieve the same level of quality of the created solutions and services. And they will find a balance between making a profit and contributing to the general STR.