Commercialization Options for Addons to a Core Open Source Project

September 15, 2014

in Engineering, Pricing, Product Management

After reading more about Eucalyptus, I have thought about their deliberations regarding providing a “core” open source product while retaining proprietary addons to sell.

At ArrayFire, we have decided to open source everything we have, without restriction of any sort. We are consciously deciding to be as fully open as we can possibly be. This decision came after a series of many heated arguments.

However, we have not ruled out the possibility of later developing proprietary addons to the “core” version. We have not yet decided what we will do. But here are options we have seen others do:

  1. Fully Open Everything – we could make everything open. always.
  2. Temporarily Proprietary Addons – we could have the most bleeding edge of our product be proprietary and commercial, while older versions become free and open source after some period of time (maybe 2 years).
  3. Permanentaly Proprietary Addons – we could have addons that are designed to always be proprietary.

There are pros and cons to each of these approaches and we have seen different open source companies attempt each of these different commercialization strategies.

What are your thoughts on those 3 options?


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