Making money from open source, it can be done

Jim Whitehurst of Red Hat writes:

I believe one of Red Hat’s most valuable contributions to the open source way is our profitability. We have clearly demonstrated that a company can be a good steward and catalyst in open source and be a profitable enterprise as well. I hope this serves as an example and inspiration to others to enter and participate in open source.

I don't think most people appreciate how important this aspect of Red Hat is. It's about every week that I'm in touch with one or another business manager who believes that the best way to profit from open source is... *cough*, selling closed source software. The thinking is that you cannot make money from open source, so it's the only way.

Red Hat is a very important counterexample. In fact, it is great that Red Hat is more profitable than many of the smaller shops that are increasingly betting on the so called open core business model. (Which is: adding closed source modules as "differentiation" into an open source base product.) Similarly one could point out that it is great to see Ubuntu thriving over other competitors by essentially being more open.

PS: There was one conversation I had along these lines, where the other party eventually conceded: "Ok, I agree with you. It is possible to make money from open source, in fact making money from religion is one of the most profitable schemes ever." Sure, whatever works for you man :-)

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