Chaotic Geek

How to Make Money with Open Source

For those who can’t completely get their heads around what the open source model is and why it’s important in the regulation of solutions that are licensed to a proprietor, think about Wikipedia for a moment. This is a platform which seeks to become the web’s go-to source for pretty much all the world’s information, with its value grown by a model that gives anybody the freedom to contribute. The measures put in place to ensure all information that is added is accurate and adds value to the platform will perhaps make for a discussion for a whole other post, but basically what open source is, is a public repository of information or tools and utilities which are contributed by the public and are subsequently made available to the public for use.

Now that the model itself is clear, some examples of open source in the world of software development come to mind, such as how a scripting language like PHP doesn’t require you to pay anyone to learn how to code in and the hardware environment on which the compiler software is run doesn’t require you to pay someone for the licence. Okay, don’t worry if it’s getting a bit too technical.

All you need to keep in mind is that as you know, there are various tools and utilities, most of which exist as software, which you can basically distribute and use without having to pay anyone for a license, such as Apache which is an open source server Operating System that basically competes with what you’d have to pay Microsoft to use their Windows Server Software. There are many more examples, such as how you can use Linux Ubuntu as an Operating System instead of Microsoft’s Windows, where Ubuntu is available for free, while Windows costs quite a bit.

There are people making money with open source and they do this by simply instituting the fundamentals of how the open source model was intended to develop without devaluing the outcome. Just because it’s free, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth anything.

So, how people actually make money is by offering support for the solutions they build with open source tools. Often the open source license variation attached to open source platforms requires you to make the solution you build using that open source technology available for free, so that’s why Linux based Operating Systems such as Ubuntu are free.

The money-making factor comes into play via the support you’d provide, which isn’t free. So if for instance you created your own Linux based OS and distributed it for free, anybody using it who wants support can earn you money by contacting you through an app to make connections online, such as Callmart, which allows you to bill them by the minute over the duration of the call they put through to you.

This model is applied beyond open source software though, with the likes of YouTubers who publish content for free using apps such as Callmart to earn some money facilitating private consultations with their followers who want more detailed information.

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