We have had a couple of queries this week regarding the open source business strategy framework we have used for the last two years or so in our analysis of open source-related business strategies.
The framework has evolved over time based on changing strategies, our research, and feedback from clients (and non-clients), but the last publicly-available version of the framework (to which the query related) was only a work in progress.
Since there is interest in making wider use of this framework – we are pleased to have seen several OSS-related vendors using it to explain their strategy – the easiest thing to do is to publish it here.
To understand how we made use of the framework to analyse the open source-related strategies of 300 software vendors and subsidiaries, see our recently published Control and Community report.
The framework, and a brief explanation of terms, is below. Any comments, suggestions, gratefully received.
• Strong copyleft
Reciprocal licenses that ensure redistributed modifications and derived works based on or including the code must be made available under the same license. For example the GNU GPL and the Affero GPL.
Reciprocal licenses that enable integration with closed source software without the entire derived work having to be made available under the same license. For example the GNU Lesser GPL, the Eclipse Public License, the Mozilla Public License, the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL).
Permissive licenses that do not place restrictions on code usage, enabling it to be integrated with closed source software and the combined code to be distributed under a closed source license. For example BSD licenses, the X11/MIT license, the Apache License.
• No preference
The vendor commercializes software that combines or utilizes multiple open source software licenses and has no discernible preference.
• The Cathedral
The source code is available with each software release, but is developed privately by an exclusive group of developers.
• The Bazaar
The code is developed in public, with builds and updates constantly made available on a public forge available to anyone.
The vendor commercializes software that utilizes a combination of publicly and privately developed software and has no discernible preference.
The software is predominantly developed by a community
The software is predominantly developed by a vendor.
The vendor commercializes software that utilizes a combination of community- and vendor-developed software and has no discernible preference.
The copyright is owned by a single vendor.
The copyright is owned by a foundation.
Copyright ownership is distributed across the individual developers
The copyright is owned by another vendor.
• Single open source
The software and all associated features are available under a single open source license.
• Multiple open source
The software and all associated features are available using a combination of open source licenses.
• Dual licensing
The software is available using an open source license, or a closed source license.
• Open core
The core project is open source, but a version with additional functionality is available using a closed source license.
• Open complement
Complementary products and services are available using a closed source license.
• Open edge
The core product is closed source, but extensions and complementary features are open source.
• Open foundation
The core product is closed source, but is built on open source software.
• Open platform
Open source software has been used to create a platform for the delivery of software services and Web applications.
• Closed source license
Either for a version of the full project, or a larger software package or hardware appliance based on the project, or for extensions to the open source core.
• Support subscription
An annual, repeatable support and service agreement.
• Value-add subscription
An annual, repeatable support and service agreement with additional features/functionality delivered as a service.
Ad hoc support calls, service, training and consulting contracts.
• Software services
Users pay to access and use the software via hosted or cloud services.
The software is free to use and is funded by associated advertising.
• Custom Development
Customers pay for the software to be customized to meet their specific requirements.
• Other Products and Services
The open source software is not used to directly generate revenue. Complementary products provide the revenue.