Commercial Open Source

Dear Readers,

Let’s talk about commercial activity in Open Source Software !

Well, in Open Source, there are 2 kind of companies : some have commercial activities, other have no clear commercial activities (I mean, no salesman), and let’s take an example : Pentaho & JasperSoft versus Intalio.

Pentaho & JasperSoft have an important number of salesmen (and women), and they are trying to monetize their platform, by selling support & OEM contract and professional version of their bundle. Those companies are present in many exhibitions, and their commercial activity takes part of a strategy to build a brand (spending – or investing – a lot of money in both commercial infrastructure and commercial activity).

On the other side, company like Intalio (a fantastic Open Source company that provides one of the best BPMS platform) has no identified saleman, but rather project manager (with strong technical IT background and deep knowledge of their platform) who can help you to build a solution using their platform, in order to have a successfull project (you can also buy support & training … Intalio will be happy for this)

It is an evidence that Pentaho & JasperSoft are most notorious than Intalio, but we can ask ourself what is really important – this has to do with the strategy of the company ! Intalio has a long term vision of their platform, and they are profitable, with customers that renew their subscription (I mean : happy customers).

Coming back to our activity in France (Open Source edition & promotion), situation is the same : we are not selling licences, but rather projects for potential happy customers (and we will be also happy if customers buy a support contract & training services). That way, we are less pushy than commercial vendors … simply because we have no identified commercial structure and no money dedicated for this. Customers have to understand this : where a commercial vendor will call a potential customer every week (if not every day), we will call maximum every month … this is not something with “no interest for customer” … simply, due to the workload, we can’t do it the way commercial companies do it …

Be carefull : word is changing very fast … Open Source is getting new customers every day, companies that remove commercial solution because “what has been sold is not what is available” … in Open Source software, talking directly with a technical consultant is a condition of success … because we will keep our promises !

Have Fun !


2 Responses

  1. Hi Patrick, do you see FOSS selling itself? I am afraid this is not the case, not even for OS firms like MySQL, as Marten himself says in his speeches.

    At the Open Source Think Tank this year I heard many CIOs asking OS firms to behave like proprietary vendors (i.e. pre-sales, partnership programs, benchmarking, etc). Customers, as usual, are always right. As a matter of fact about 20 companies are financially backed by VCs, the vast majority is struggling to get in the know and turn end-users into customers on a project basis, a not so scalable approach indeed. Commercialize your own products is still a must, either your are open or not.

  2. Hello Roberto,

    Thanks for your comment. In fact, one of the unique non-agressive comment I received … as other comment – not signed – were just about defending commercial structure without trying to understand Intalio’s vision and position.

    Well, we all know different Open Source companies that raised fund and are now strungle by their commercial infrastructure, and that changed their commercial position to finance this structure. This has led so many confusion in the Open Source landscape those past months.

    My post was just about telling that, from my point of view, Intalio has a better approach to sell Open Source software, even if this may be slower.

    While invested in Open Source, my position is to behave differently from commercial companies & to keep and protect those differences. My company has a growing network of partners, and we do pre-sale, training, support … all that gave an identification to some Open Source products … for 3 years now …


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