New sales model on tap: exec

The days of selling software through the traditional commercial model are numbered, as open source is becoming the paradigm of choice, said Greg Stein, chairman of the Apache Software Foundation, at the EclipseCon 2006 conference last month.

Software is becoming increasingly commoditized, Stein said during his keynote presentation, and more of it is available free and it is easy to get. He cited the OpenOffice office automation package as an example of free software to replace Microsoft Office.

“As the [open source] stack grows and grows and takes over more areas, there’s less money available in packaged products. All of your software [will be] free. It means that over time, you aren’t going to be paying for software anymore” but will instead pay for assistance with it, Stein said.

He estimated that in five to 10 years, most software used today will be free. “The notion of packaged product is really going to kind of go away,” Stein said. Eventually, a free software project will overtake a commercial effort in functionality; there are almost always more developers in the open source community, Stein said.

Making money in software will involve selling assistance services for functions such as: installation, configuration, maintenance, upgrading, testing and customization, Stein said. Basic software components themselves will be free. “As our systems grow more and more complex, more and more assistance is necessary,” he said.

An audience member was not entirely willing to concede the software market to open source. “I think there’s always going to b a spot for commercial, closed source for specialized tasks, but the base infrastructure will be more open source or easily available,” said Danny D’Amours, computer systems officer at the National Research Council.

Commercial, closed source software will not go away “because there’s so many small niches that people will be able to exploit or be able to make commercial solutions off of,” D’Amours said. In other parts of his presentation, Stein discussed the evolution of software licensing and compared Apache to Eclipse.

“A license can ruin a perfectly good piece of software,” Stein said, borrowing a quote from participant Jon Stevens.

QuickLink 066027

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now