Posts tagged “mswl

Profit and FOSS


I could blog about this topic for months but recently I found two interesting articles [1] , [2] related to how can somebody make profit from FOSS.  In this post I would like to mention the parts of the articles that called my attention .

About profit and challenges

First of all you can have a look at the following diagram



” In spite of the future being increasingly open source, there are lurking challenges. One of the biggest challenges is competing against proprietary companies with a different model. “This means that it’s more difficult keeping things open source because a lot of senior partners don’t understand it. So, they think that open source could be a business risk,” says Google’s Sengupta. “But that barrier is now reducing each month and year,” says Evans.

Open source is hard to define and everyone has their own definition of it (see Box). Software’s legal dilemmas are probably messier than the bugs plaguing it. So there are always challenges with licences, software freedom and on reaching a consensus about what is open source and what is proprietary.

Another perception is that being open source means not only free source code but also free of cost, monetarily. This is partly because of the double meanings of the world “free” and partly because there are some very strong free products by organizations like Apache, which are fully free of cost. Then, there’s the trouble of the community: which is the very engine of open source. There are hundreds of thousands of developers. You have to find the right meaningful segment of the developer community, fit for your need, and excite them into building your specific application.

Being open means that your competition can see what you are up to. This may keep you constantly on your toes and ensure that you always keep your products’ quality top-notch. “But because everyone knows what you are up to, you can never have the Steve Jobs/Apple moment of ‘wow!’. So, purely from a PR perspective, open source can be tough,” says Sengupta.

Cloud Computing

” Finding the right line between the indie cult spirit of developer community and a sturdy, trustworthy enterprise-ready product is also another challenge for open source. Things like firewall, storage, and others could not be disrupted by open source for a long time due to reliability issues. But then times are changing and open source’s merits nevertheless outshine its flaws. And even open source red flags like storage are doing well. In October, Babu sold Gluster, his open source storage startup, to Red Hat for $136 million. For a software startup, being open will eventually not be a matter of choice.

Rather than waste precious funds in marketing, being open popularises the startup’s product resulting in a wider adoption. Counter-intuitive as it sounds, opening up its technology can bring a business more money.”

According to some, OpenStack got started when NASA was building their Nebula infrastructure cloud, and were working with Eucalyptus to get the job done. But, there were problems.

Eucalyptus uses an open core model with its customers, which means there’s an open source “core” software product they give to community users for free and commercial add-ons for which they charge customers. ”

Business models

“The freedom to change and rework software can be fairly profitable too. Although open source is a buzzword today, RedHat — the company synonymous with open source — showed way back in the early 1990s that it could be a profitable and sustainable business model. RedHat’s is a subscription-based model wherein users subscribe to its consulting services for free products like ‘Red Hat Enterprise Linux’ and ‘JBoss application server’. Today, the public company has revenue of well over $900 million.

Like RedHat put value into a free product like Linux, IBM too did quite well improving and adding value to existing free products like the Apache web server. It added hooks, which enabled IBM to use its own custom web server platform. IBM also has a basic enterprise software based on Apache Geronimo, wherein again it offers a better product with better capacity.

RedHat’s service offering and IBM’s product offering represent the two major business models in open source. “But just like there is no perfect one-for-all software, there is no particular open source model that’s good for all. You need to focus on what your customer wants,” says Babu. That’s for software, but the philosophy of freedom which open source embodies, is spreading. “If you have a commodity, you may as well be open,” says Greg Stein, an advocate of open source software and director of the Apache Software Foundation. That includes hardware, which might be very proprietary today. But things like Apache’s Arduino platform for instance, are beginning to make inroads into open hardware experimentation.

And as hardware gets increasingly commoditised — with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) becoming ubiquitous — it is destined to go more open source. “Where we are with open hardware today is where we were with open source software a decade ago,” says Stein. Though relegated primarily to enterprise spaces, open source as an idea might be coming to consumers too. Apple’s trademark iTunes was forced to move away to include playing music on non-Apple devices as well. Today, the TV market is in a flurry with a lot of player technology moving into cable boxes. People use their XBoxes to access Netflix movies. Others plug in their tablets to projectors or television sets. And Internet TV is on the rise.

Personal preferences mean that consumers will make their own choices and not be locked into devices like earlier. “Now with everything getting so customized that we will see more open source software at a consumer level,” says Stein. ‘”


While there are load of people who have issues with Red Hat, SUSE Linux, and Canonical (to name three commercial vendors), those issues don’t seem to center around that these companies are out to make a buck (or euro or pound). Making a profit is not immoral. People recognize that delivering value, be it human or code or materials, deserves to get paid. The moral issues come into play when someone goes too far and takes advantage of the customer.



Linux profitability [Red Hat , SUSE , Canonical]


People involved in the FOSS movement ,claim that FOSS companies do have profits and benefits of open source. In this post  I will present some piece of information about the most significant ones [Red Hat , SUSE , Canonical] [1]

Case studies


In the summer 2012, at “SUSEcon 2012,” [3] SUSE itself was announced to be profitable, with revenues above $200 million (USD), with expectations of continued revenue growth into 2013.

I have to point out that, SUSE offers some pretty interesting services and products, including SUSE Linux Enterprise (in both Server and Desktop versions), server management tools, enterprise level support deals and SUSEStudio.

Red Hat :

The last December reported a profit of $38.2 million, with a revenue of $322 million for the quarter. Like SUSE, their success is not terribly surprising. Red Hat Enterprise server alone (and its various support deals and tools) is a huge business with a large user base. You can find more about Red Hats profit and financial statement here [2]

Cannonical :

In Canonical case , things seems to be different as Canonical is a privately held company and hasn’t released a great deal of financial information. But what we do know is this: Back in 2009, Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Canonical) stated that it was “creeping” towards its break-even point in revenue (roughly $30 million).

Then, during the announcement for Canonical’s latest project (Ubuntu for Tablets), Shuttleworth stated that the company was not yet profitable. And that’s just about the most detailed information we’ve gotten so far. Canonical estimates that there are roughly 20 million Ubuntu users worldwide. But, for SUSE and Red Hat, things are a bit more complicated, as there are multiple flavors to consider (Red Hat Enterprise, Fedora, openSUSE, Suse Linux Enterprise).


In 2010, openSUSE installations were estimated at over 2 million. Fedora (the Open Source, community distro that Red Hat Enterprise is based on) reports roughly 3.5 million unique IPs connecting to their software repository for the most recent version. Seems that companies have many and different ways to measure their success and profit.






Interview with Jos Poortvliet

Jos Poortvliet , tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Hey, I’m a Dutch Free Software enthusiast living in Berlin with my Brazilian
wife Camila. I’ve been around Free and Open Source for over 10 years, mostly
active around marketing and community related things.

Which are your main responsibilities and roles inside the openSUSE Project as a community manager?

I’m active in marketing, helping the project communicate to the outside
world. But also internally and between SUSE and openSUSE. I am also active
on the governance side of the project, with strategy or board related things
and helping to handle conflicts if they arise.

How do people from the community understand (or perceive) your role inside the openSUSE Project ?

He, good question. In the beginning, many people expected me to take charge
and play a leadership role. As that is clearly something which does fit
neither openSUSE nor me, I did not do that and made very clear that I did
not see that as my job. Instead, I presented myself as a contributor who had
to earn his place like everybody else. I think I did that, in the last
years, and today people come to me for advice mostly in the areas of
communication, marketing and conflicts – and I happily stay out of
especially technical decisions.

Imagine that you have to build and manage a new community , inside the openSUSE Project. Which are the steps you gonna follow so as to assure that this community will not affect the openSUSE Project? How are you gonna attract  people from the openSUSE Project to participate in the this new community?

Depends on what you are looking for, what you want to create. If it is
something like the ARM project or a new openSUSE derivative, it SHOULD
affect the project – ARM is adding something to openSUSE, so are the
derivatives. That is good!

So, just announce it as that – a cool, new thing in openSUSE. That is not
particularly hard to communicate. I would not communicate it before it has
something to show for and in most cases that means first gathering some
people who want to work on it and making a ‘first release’, then announcing
where you plan to take it and inviting people to join.

Of course, it would be possible to create a project which might not be
naturally seen as an addition. Say, you want to ‘fork’ openSUSE into a more
stable (or more bleeding edge) version. That is an entirely different thing
and should be handled with a little more care: one can imagine that this
takes up resources which otherwise might be put in openSUSE Factory, for
example. But here, too, I think it is important to first talk to some core
people, get a team up, create a ‘proof of concept’ and simply have a clear
plan. Then, based on what objections you expect, make sure to communicate it
in a non-threatening way.

Do you use any tool to manage the information inside the community (e.g bugzilla , statistics in mailing lists,repositories etc) and how?

We have some statistics but these focus around the release, marketing and
user base (number of downloads, page views to our sites, number of active
installations, things like that). And we have some idea about development
(number of commits to Factory, amount of work in devel projects). We have
very little, if any, info on communication related things.

One of the tasks of the community manager is the volunteer management. In terms of measurement and success can you give a percentage of
 “assigned” tasks per volunteer and successfully finished task per volunteer?

I have very little idea here. First of all, because I am restricting myself
to a subset of the community: the marketing area. Second, because my work
frequently shifts and I don’t always interact with the same people. And
last, because I don’t keep metrics like that – I work very much on a one-on-
one base. I’m not saying that that is the best way to do it but I’m not much
of a number man 😉

According to your experience ,  how many months approximately needs a volunteer to be “productive”?

It depends quite a bit in what area and what skills he/she brings. But you
are often looking at quite a long time – a minimum of a month but easily
half a year.

Would you call yourself a mentor? And why?

Sometimes, when I’m actually mentoring new people…

If a project , a task or an idea “assigned” to a volunteer fails, how do you manage this kind failure?
I try to catch it myself but often, I delegate based on trust. So if a
volunteer doesn’t do something, well, it doesn’t get done. That is
responsibility, yes?

Finally tell us , why openSUSE and openSUSE Community rocks?

There are a lot of reasons – but for me, the most important part is the open
mind. Every project has people angry at the world, every project has
friendly and unfriendly people. But overall, openSUSE as a community is very
open to both newcomers and working with others. We’re not such a navel-
gazing community, we pragmatic and willing to look outside our borders,
adopting technologies from other communities and working with them on it.
That is maybe not totally unique, but certainly rare.

Installing Gummi in openSUSE 12.2

Since yesterday i started using LaTeX. So i was searching which LateX editor fix better in my needs. After searching and testing i use Gummi. Let’s see what is going on :

What is Gummi?

Gummi is a LaTeX editor for the Linux platform, written in C/GTK+. It was designed with simplicity in mind, but hopes to appeal to both novice and more advanced LaTeX writers. Gummi was released as free opensource software under the MIT license. [1]

Installing Gummi

In order to install Gummi in openSUSE you have to install the following packages :

– gummi (by typing sudo zypper in gummi , in the terminal)


After installing the gummi package , i couldn’t execute gummi and saw the follwoing  error message

“Failed to execute child process “enchant-lsmod” (No such file or directory)”


The solution to this problem is to install the following packages  :

– enchant (and 5 sub-packages)  [2]

– enchant-devel

– libenchant1 [3]

After installing them , Gummi will work fine!




Mozilla’s revenues [2006-2010]

Does Mozilla make money and stay afloat? How can a Foundation which offers bunch of FOSS Software is able to survive? In this post i will not focus on how Mozilla foundation earn money but on Mozilla’s revenues the past 5 years [2006-2010].

To be truth i found a very interesting article on how does Mozilla earn money , so you can have a look at the article [1]. In my opinion the main point of the article is that since 2005 Mozilla Foundation made contractual arrangements with meaningful companies (Google,Nokia etc) and this fact rose up Foundation revenues.

Revenues [2],[3],[4]

2006 : $66.8 million

2007 : $75 million

2008: $69 million

2009 : $104 million

2010: $123 million

So as we can see during the last 5 years the Mozilla Foundation did double its revenue. That cannot be luck but a matter of hard work and dedication.





Investing in OpenStack?Is it a value for money investment?

As we all know OpenStack is an IaaS Cloud computing project and free open source software as well which released 2 years ago [Oct 2010].  Until now more than 150 companies have joined the project. But let’s see more details about investing in OpenStack.

Ryan Floyd , a venture capitalist , claims that “OpenStack will fundamentally change enterprise IT”. Furthermore from an investor perspective, it’s the sort of disruption that gives entrepreneurs and start-ups the chance to compete with incumbents [2]. Talking about Open Source investments Floyd says that ” today it is far easier to make money in open source then it has been in the past. The reason for that is because of the complexity”. Furthermore  comments that ” IT organizations have been gutted in recent years and most don’t have the time or resources to deal with complexity. That’s where the start-up open source opportunity can be found.”

Apart from Ryan Floyd’s point of view OpenStack has already made public some charts about the involved companies and the job trends in OpenStack

Job Trends related with OpenStack

And finally, OpenStack Foundation has officially launched boasting $10 million in funding and 5,600 members [3].

So the answer is “Yes OpenStack is a value for money investment”




openSUSE en LinuxCon [Barcelona,España]


El proyecto openSUSE ha participado con éxito en la conferencia LinuxCon Europa 2012 [durante 5 y 8 noviembre 2012]. Dos embajadores [Zoumpis, Diomidis] estuvieron como representantes de la comunidad de openSUSE durante la conferencia. Vamos a ver lo que sucedió allí!

La víspera de la conferencia

El domingo por la tarde hicimos nuestra primera visita a la sede LinuxCon. Nuestra primera misión fue visitar el estand de registro y obtener el ID y T-Shirts, luego fuimos al stand de SUSE / openSUSE y empezamos a desempacar los premios SUSE. Allan Clark también se unió a nosotros para ayudar con la preparación de stand.

On Sunday evening we made our first visit at the Linuxcon Venue. Our first mission was to visit the registration desk and get our ID’s and T-Shirts, then we went to the co-hosted (SUSE/openSUSE) booth and started to unpack the SUSE goodies. Mr. Allan Clark also joined us to help with the booth setup.

Dia – 0 [05/11/2012]

Nuestro día comenzó temprano, a las 7.30 horas. Fuimos directamente al Hotel Fira Palace, donde se celebró la LinuxCon. Asistimos a las conferencias magistrales de la zona por la mañana: Fomento de la experiencia del usuario por Mark Suttleworth Evernote y por el que ejecuta sus propios servidores Linux en lugar de “La Nube” por Dave Engberg.

No hemos asistido a más presentaciones , porque tuvimos que colaborar en el stand. En el estand, nuestro trabajo principal fue dar la bienvenida, ayudar a los visitantes. También tuvimos mucha promoción con las personas el día lunes y obsequiamos: openSUSE dvd, gorras, pegatinas, mecheros, folletos openSUSE comunitarios y memorias USB. Finalmente tuvimos un concurso para ganar 4 bolsas para portátiles de SUSE y el sorteo se realizó el miércoles.

La retroalimentación que recibimos de los asistentes en la conferencia fue muy bueno y amigable sobre la distribución openSUSE y la comunidad, por supuesto. Las preguntas más comunes que la gente hizo fué:

a. ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre SUSE y openSUSE?

b. ¿Qué software y cuales son las características que están incluidas en el openSUSE 12.2 DVD Promo?

c. ¿El openSUSE 12.2 tiene soporte para la arquitectura ARM?

d. El material promocional es libre?

Además nos dieron una sugerencia muy buena y prometedora sobre el Open Build Service (OBS).


1) Abrir Métricas de fuente comunitaria: Consejos y Técnicas para la Medición de la participación de Down [] Puppet Labs Foster

2) El gigante de TI Vending Machine por Daniel Roberts Ridruejo [BitNami]

Dia -1 [06/11/2012]

A medida que pasó el primer día y nos encontrábamos en el standad, fué el momento adecuado para asistir a más presentaciones.El día comenzó como el anterior, asistiendo a las conferencias magistrales: Abierto Plataformas de Nube Fuente Marten Mickos por [director general de Sistemas de eucalipto] y la importancia de Linux en Intel por Imad Sousou [OTC, Intel]. A medida que la fiesta de lanzamiento de openSUSE estaba a punto de tener lugar informamos a la gente.

Tiempo de la fiesta!

Después del día de la conferencia, nos fuimos de fiesta. Muchas personas de la comunidad de KDE locales asistieron a la fiesta, pero gente de la Conferencia, así (Alan Clark, empleados de HP SUSE, Director de Linux Magazine [edición Española]). Además gente que ha leído el anuncio que estaba allí. En total éramos 15 personas hablando sobre el openSUSE 12.2, de las nuevas características y, por supuesto, nos divertimos mucho haciéndolo..


1) (Tutorial) Edificio FOSS Nubes, Parte I – Sebastien Goasguen, Citrix

2) (Tutorial) Edificio FOSS Nubes, Parte II – Sebastien Goasguen, Citrix

3) OpenStack Pruebas de integración continua en servidores Cloud – James E. Blair, HP

4) Arrastrero: un nuevo enfoque para el almacenamiento en caché SSD – Hannes Reinecke, SUSE

5) El proyecto OpenStack y la Fundación OpenStack – Eileen Evans, HP

6) Desastres Resiliencia en Linux – Lars Marowsky-Brée, SUSE

7) Escala de un Open Source Community: La forma en que creció el Proyecto OpenStack – Monty Taylor, Gerente de Automatización e implementación de HP

8) Declaraciones a futuro el desarrollo: la próxima evolución en Enterprise Linux Desarrollo de Software – Ralf Flaxa, VP de Ingeniería de SUSE

Dia – 2 [07/11/2012]

El día comenzó con una entrevista a Linus Torvarlds, sin necesidad de presentación! Muchas preguntas se hicieron, muchas de ellas fueron de cómo Linus ve el futuro de Linux, que incluye o que tendrá el próximo núcleo y, por supuesto, hubo un debate acerca de los dispositivos embebidos brazo.


1) Linux: ¿Hacia dónde vamos – Linux creador Linus Torvalds y Linux de Intel y Tecnólogo de código abierto, Dirk Hohndel

2) Tomar el miedo a la Contribución: Mentoring de código abierto – Stephen Hemminger, Vyatta

3) CouchDB y CouchApps – Roman Geber, B1 Systems GmbH

4) Gestión de recursos con Linux – Bruno Cornec, HP

5) CONFERENCIA MAGISTRAL: Got Talent de Linux (sesión de clausura)

Al final del segundo día de la conferencia era el momento de desmontar stand y hacer el sorteo de las bolsas de SUSE. Cuatro (4) bolsas para portátiles fueron regaladas!

Dia – 3 [08/11/2012]

Como no existía puestos o sitio libre para asistir a cualquiera de las presentaciones que se llevan a cabo.

Así que elegimos asistir a talleres y Gluster Día yocto Desarrollador del proyecto.


Así pues, tenemos tantas cosas que compartir, muchos recuerdos y mucho entusiasmo para transmitir a todas las personas de la comunidad openSUSE. Pero nosotros no vamos a ser chicos Chatterbox. LinuxCon es una de las mejores experiencias que un fan de Linux / desarrollador / usuario, etc puede conseguir. Discursos motivacionales, gente entusiasta sobre el software libre y equipamiento, talleres de primer nivel de los desarrolladores de todo el mundo, literalmente, todo lo relacionado con Linux y sus derivados. Dispositivos integrados y yocto tuvieron mucha afluencia o visitas.

Todo lo que podemos decir es que LinuxCon es un sueño que se hizo realidad para nosotros!

Aquí usted puede encontrar fotos de la conferencia [1] , [2].