The principle of the business model “Open source” or “open source code” in French, means software whose source code is accessible, modifiable, and integrable by a community of contributors, thus offering real freedom to developers. These products, technologies, or services in question, developed by a “community”, do not belong to a specific company or individual. It goes even further because this business model even includes improvements that external contributors can make: this is called “open innovation”.
The free distribution made possible by “open source” software has made it possible to democratize a certain number of technologies within companies.
Here are the basic principles defining this business model:
– The possibility of having access to the source code;
– The possibility of modifying the source code;
– The possibility of redistributing the new software, thus modeled.
ADVANTAGES & CHALLENGES
This “open source” model is first of all a cost-effective solution for the company using it. Both in terms of time and means to be put forward to develop the software, since it is mostly developed by members of the community. Indeed, one of the main advantages, often mentioned, of open source software is the diversity, scope, and availability of the army of developers who contribute to the project. This can be an incredibly powerful argument to demonstrate the value of open source for a company.
Advocates of this business model believe that by involving collective intelligence it can only contribute to improving the technology or solution in question. Especially since the philanthropic aspect of this approach as well as the freedom granted by its use can also be an argument of choice.
Finally, the possibilities of adding extensions and customization are unlimited. However, the larger the community and the greater the number of contributors, the greater the possibility of problems or potential security risks. In this sense, more contributors mean more risks. This is a very real concern. As a community grows, more developers contribute code to the project. As more and more developers contribute to the code and their solutions to problems, there is a very real need to establish guidelines that all contributors must follow, such as setting coding standards, accepting a common license, peer-to-peer exchange, etc.
Open-source software impacts the company’s IT strategy in many areas. It changes the way to conduct a research and development project with a more collaborative approach focused on a community of developers, as shown by Wikipedia. Open source also makes the creation of software solutions evolve by lowering development costs and implementation times. Not only is software designed faster and at competitive costs, but it is also of better quality thanks to the possibility of relying on a community of contributors to enrich the functionalities and test the solution. As a result, it has become a strong argument when it comes to defending an IT budget or convincing management to deploy a digital tool within the company. The digital transformation has been a gas pedal for open source, making it indispensable to any IT strategy, making it a strategic tool for digitizing business processes and uses.
EVOLUTION OVER TIME
Open Source is a concept in computing that was developed in the 1990s. Since then, it has served as a basic principle for the creation of many software and IT solutions. The tech giant IBM is the first to use this “open source” business model. Initially, this system was established to allow IBM users to exchange on operating systems, technical programming, databases as evidenced by the Mozilla Open source project that led to the creation of the Firefox search engine. But the first company to have produced a profitable and profitable version of open source was RedHat.
The first “open source” versions of Red Hat Linux were delivered to customers on floppy disks and CDs. Later, paid subscriptions were introduced in exchange for more comprehensive support. Until then the free license had been equated with a free software license without anyone making money behind it. It was then that software publishers, discovering the need for services (maintenance, testing, hotline) will take over the file in the form of subscriptions as mentioned above, in order to provide software of a high level of quality while monetizing its services.
On the other hand, the massive spread of open source solutions, the freedom and simplicity they offer, and their unbeatable cost will have a lasting impact on the way IT is done. Easier access to technology, non-prohibitive TCO, simplified implementation, the democratization of new uses, sharing… A digital revolution later, it is clear that Open Source remains a constant source of inspiration and innovation for software manufacturers.
VARIATION OF THE MODEL
There are three main families of “open source” software: Foundation products: Like the Apache Foundation, or Eclipse, they are non-profit organizations that stimulate and pilot the development of great open source products. Foundations and other non-profit organizations play a very important role in the open-source ecosystem. The largest open-source products, and those with the widest distribution, come from these foundations or are supported by them.
Community or distributor products: These companies select tools and components around a Linux kernel, provide packaging, distribution, and support. They often also act as publishers.
Their activity can be summarized as follows:
– Selecting products and versions, surrounding the Linux kernel
– Validate the maturity and robustness of these products
– Distributing these products and their updates, i.e. ensuring their delivery to user-customers
– Provide support for these products: hotline, processing of requests, advice, training, etc.
Publisher products: These companies create a software product, which they distribute under an open-source license, in whole or in part. They ensure the promotion of their product and propose offers of support. The publisher is the one who holds the rights of the product, ensures the development, promotion, distribution, and support.
REDHAT: This is the most obvious proof that selling open source software can be profitable. Like Canonical, it offers its software for free and charges for technical support services to companies. Red Hat also sells subscriptions to its “premium” distribution, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which appeals to enterprise users because of its rigorous testing and stability. Finally, the company sells enterprise software certifications, which allow employers to find highly qualified IT professionals who have been certified by Red Hat and have demonstrated their mastery of Red Hat software tools.
FREE: includes a variety of software that can be used for text input (such as Word), presentations (similar to PowerPoint), and a full spreadsheet (equivalent to Excel). It is the open-source equivalent of Microsoft Office which, unlike LibreOffice, is proprietary software.
GIMP: photo editor built-in Open Source. It offers handling similar to that of Adobe Photoshop and has very powerful image processing tools.
VLC MEDIA PLAYER: It is the most popular media player in the world. It works with all types of files (especially streaming video).
MOZILLA FIREFOX: One of the first Open Source browsers. It has a simple, practical interface and it is respectful of the privacy of its users. The constant revision of the source code of the browser allows solving minor bugs as quickly as possible. Like Mozilla Firefox, many other browsers of this type are very effective like Brave, Opera, Chromium, Midori…
LINUX: it is a platform that is available in many operating systems. It is very popular, especially in the field of computer security and intrusion tests but also for servers. It is the best Open Source operating system available today.
Open source is at the heart of innovation because it is a business model that is constantly renewing and evolving. As proof, according to a study published in 2015 and carried out by the firm PAC for the Conseil National du Logiciel Libre et du Syntec Numérique (National Council for Free Software and Digital Syntec), 70% of open source players invest more than 10% of their income in Research and Development activities, and more than half devote more than 15% to it!
According to a ReportBuyer study published in March 2018, the global market for open source services is expected to grow from $11.4 billion in 2017 to $32.95 billion in 2022 (or from €9.34 billion to €27 billion), with an annual growth rate of 23.65%. The largest market for open source services is and will remain North America (45%). Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA, accounting for 20%, behind Asia-Pacific at 30%) region is also expected to see “considerable adoption of open source technologies”, particularly in Germany, Spain and Italy, while Greece and the UK are expected to lag behind other European countries, the study said. The study also stresses that France is “the European leader in open source”: with 23% of the European open-source market, France is thus consolidating its position as a European leader.
PRODUCTS ADAPTED TO THIS BUSINESS MODEL
The strength of open source is that it comes in several forms and with creativity, its forms are multiplying: the industry
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