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Other than everybody, who stands to gain most from FOSS?

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User offline. Last seen 14 years 34 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-12-07

I personally see non-profits and specifically churches as being a niche where FOSS is already starting to make some inroads and could fill a real need for affordable, reliable and customizable software systems. But who else, what other niche or not-so-niche markets could stand to gain in any ways from the continued work on FOSS?

User offline. Last seen 11 years 32 weeks ago. Offline
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Re: Other than everybody, who stands to gain most from FOSS?

I think that one very important advantage of free software, is that it is an opportunity of business for many people, specially programmers and network technicians. People could actually set up businesses which provide service to other people using free software. Since the source code is available to everyone, then everyone is free to fix any problems with free software, or to provide programs for a certain need, to modify the programs already available for a certain need, etc. You can set up a business to provide all of these services. This is not different from having a car, and going to the mechanic of your preference to fix it.

However, with the predominance of an economy based on proprietary software, where the companies want to hold on to their monopoly of service has made this service-based economy quite difficult, but not impossible. Many of us who do believe in free software, as well as those who believe in open source software, have to make everything possible to make this business opportunity to everyone interested in living from that.

User offline. Last seen 14 years 34 weeks ago. Offline
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Re: Other than everybody, who stands to gain most from FOSS?

I agree with you. In my mind the best way to profit or make a living from FOSS is to become skilled in providing services that users of FOSS need. Developers can provide their skils for hire to fix bugs and add features or customize applications and anybody willing to put in the time can learn to support installations and manage configurations. I think the service-oriented business model is a viable one, although it requires skills and determination to succeed.

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Re: Other than everybody, who stands to gain most from FOSS?

I also agree about services business model, it's a "classic" business model for free software, but i also believe that there may be others all coming out of these freedoms that FOSS provides.

For one little example one might use this incoming desktop linux adoption and put computers together with preinstalled and preconfigured linux and sell them to people along with support. All that the buyer would need is to press the power up button and everything would work like a charm (you would have to take care of that). You can even go further and make computers on demand. For example, someone says he wants it to be a home computer for kids, then you'll stuff many games in it, setup a nice and easy to run media player, music player, CD ripper etc. The other guy may want an office computer than you would make sure that the setup has all that is needed for office use (office suite, extra text-editors, e-mail/contacts/calendar/notes suite etc.)

I think that kind of biz would flourish and it's not even that hard to start if you have some money to invest in first couple of computers you'd produce.. Smiling

But i believe there are other niche areas beside biz, churches and non-profits for which FOSS is good and well-accepted.. you might have some ideas?

Thanks
Daniel

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User offline. Last seen 14 years 34 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-12-07
Re: Other than everybody, who stands to gain most from FOSS?

That customized system idea is actually quite good, you could even automate the ordering and most of the deployment with enough effort. A company could maintain a package repository and allow customers to choose exactly what they wanted preinstalled. Offer live phone support for those who need guidance. That could make for an interesting build-to-order business...

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User offline. Last seen 34 weeks 10 hours ago. Offline
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Re: Other than everybody, who stands to gain most from FOSS?

Yes.. hmm.. when i think about it deeper this could be the flash i've been waiting for.. I recently submited one idea to the local business incubator as i had some contacts with them before (from last high school year) and i want to start my own business. The idea was to start the first croatian FOSS magazine.. they told me to work on the idea,but that it would be difficult for me as i am not exactly in that branche (publishing and press) and it ended on it..

This may be a good idea to push Idea ;-)

EDIT: When talking about starting a business, i'd never go about turning on to something contrary to FOSS. That's actually one of the driving forces, starting a succesful business out of free as in freedom software and in full accordance to free software ideology.

Thanks
Daniel

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User offline. Last seen 14 years 34 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-12-07
Re: Other than everybody, who stands to gain most from FOSS?

If you've got the time vision and can find the capital it sounds like something worth trying. But then again I'm not jumping from my seat to throw my money into the pot so what do I know.... :-)

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User offline. Last seen 34 weeks 10 hours ago. Offline
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Re: Other than everybody, who stands to gain most from FOSS?

I agree.. i will think about the idea and rework it a bit and i just might send another e-mail to the director of this incubator. They are securing the financing. There's actually a pretty good climate in Croatia for new businesses these days, many new companies are entering the market and there are alot of succesful innovators as well as supporting organizations.

Isn't this interesting, in a thread in which we try to determine which fields exactly is FOSS good for we end up discussing some nice business ideas based exactly on FOSS.

What would all those people claiming that free software is anti-business and anti-economy say now. It's not only us, but many companies embracing free software development model as a business model.

Things change i guess, or better said, the *perception* of things because free software was *always* a viable business model and not a way to starve. :smurf:
Thanks
Daniel

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