By Emmett Dulaney

In the open source model that guides Linux, a company’s software source code is made available for download via the internet. While anyone could use this software for free, the open source model generates revenue through the sale of support, customization and training services.

One company recently decided to go open source — switching from the proprietary model they had used for years — for multiple reasons including creating a buzz around the product and thus improving visibility of both the product and the company. In addition, the company planned to build a community of developers to assist in supporting and developing new features for the product. In essence, the thinking is that the open source model is a more efficient way to operate the company.

If a customer needs a new feature, open source enables the customer to either develop that feature and implement it themselves or contract with the company to develop the feature via professional services. In addition to professional services, the open source model plans for generating revenue by selling support services and training.