The single-vendor commercial open course business model

  • Dirk RiehleEmail author
Original Article


Single-vendor commercial open source software projects are open source software projects that are owned by a single firm that derives a direct and significant revenue stream from the software. Single-vendor commercial open source at first glance represents an economic paradox: How can a firm earn money if it is making its product available for free as open source? This paper presents the core properties of single-vendor open source business models and discusses how they work. Using a single-vendor open source approach, firms can get to market faster with a superior product at lower cost than possible for traditional competitors. The paper shows how these benefits accrue from an engaged and self-supporting user community. Lacking any prior comprehensive reference, this paper is based on an analysis of public statements by practitioners of single-vendor open source. It forges the various anecdotes into a coherent description of revenue generation strategies and relevant business functions.


Open source Commercial open source Single-vendor open source Commercial open source business model Dual-licensing strategy Open core business model Business model Go-to-market strategy Open source sales Open source marketing Open source product management Open source licensing Software engineering Collaborative development 



I would like to thank Eliot Miranda, Wesley Mukai, Martin Stein, Jens Strücker and Christof Wittig for feedback on an early version of the paper. Then, I would like to acknowledge and particularly thank Jacob Taylor for helping me refine this paper further. Last but not least, I would like to thank Larry Augustin, Craig Hughes, Andrew Lampitt, Mike Moody, Mike Olson, Julio Toffoli as well as the anonymous reviewers for feedback in the final stages of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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