Commercial open source applications

Commercial open source applications

Open source software is widely used for private and non-commercial applications. In addition, many independent software vendors (ISVs), value-added resellers (VARs), and hardware vendors (OEMs or ODMs) use open source frameworks, modules, and libraries inside their proprietary, for-profit products and services. From the customer's perspective, the ability to use open source technology under standard commercial terms and support is valuable. Customers are willing to pay for the legal protection (e.g., indemnification from intellectual property infringement) and "high-touch" support/training/consulting that are typical of commercial software with the innovation and independence that comes with open source.

Since GNU and some other open source licenses stipulate that derived works must distribute their intellectual property under an open source (copyleft) license, ISVs and VARs have developed legal and technical mechanisms to foster their commercial goals:

  1. A dual-license model, where a code base is published under a traditional open source license and a commercial license simultaneously. Vendors typically charge a perpetual license fee for additional closed-source features, supplementary documentation, testing, and quality, as well as intellectual property indemnification to protect the purchaser from legal liability.
  2. Functional encapsulation, where an open source framework or library is installed on a user's computer separately from the commercial product, and the commercial product uses the open source functionality in an "arm's length" way (under the argument that the commercial product was shipped without the open source library, even though it uses it). Vendors typically charge a perpetual license fee for the functionality that they provide under closed source, as they usually don't provide services or other direct value for the open source elements.
  3. A software as a service model, under the argument that the vendor is charging for the services, not the software itself (because the software is never shipped to customers or installed on their computers). Vendors typically charge a monthly subscription fee for use of their hosted applications.
  4. Not charging for the software, but only for the support, training, and consulting services that assist users of the open source software. Vendors typically charge an annual fee for support, per-student fees for training, and per-project fees for consulting engagements.
  5. Charging for the software as part of an information appliance or other hardware device. In this model, the software (e.g., development libraries, administrative tools, or example applications) is delivered as part of a proprietary chip, subsystem, or hardware solution with the binaries pre-installed (sometimes burned into firmware) while the source tree is posted on Sourceforge or other public open-source repository.
  6. Freemium Model, making a basic version of the software available for free and charging for premium features, or applications

The underlying objective of these business models is to harness the size and international scope of the open source community (typically more than an order of magnitude larger than what would be achieved with closed-source models) for a sustainable commercial venture. The vast majority of commercial open source companies experience a conversion ratio (as measured by the percentage of downloaders who buy something) well below 1%, so low-cost and highly-scalable marketing and sales functions are key to these firms' profitability.

There is considerable debate about whether vendors can make a sustainable business from an open source strategy. In terms of a traditional software company, this is probably the wrong question to ask. Looking at the landscape of open source applications, many of the larger ones are sponsored (and largely written) by system companies such as IBM who may not have an objective of software license revenues. Other software companies, such as Oracle and Google, have sponsored or delivered significant open source code bases. These firms' motivation tends to be more strategic, in the sense that they are trying to change the rules of a marketplace and reduce the influence of vendors such as Microsoft. In the case of smaller vendors doing open source work, their objectives may be less "immediate revenue growth" and more "developing a large and loyal community," which may be the basis of a corporate valuation at merger time.

Except for Red Hat and VA Software, no other pure open source company has gone public on the major stock markets. However, two firms on the list below may go public by 2012. The remainder are likely to be acquired, as is the norm for all pre-public software companies.


List of commercial open source applications and services

The purpose of this table is to provide reference information about the provenance and history of commercial open source applications. It is not to be used or interpreted as an advertisement for the vendors.

Product or Service Name
(business models used)
Commercial Vendor Description Current Version Open Source
Project Name
Ver 1.0 Date
AdverTool (3,4) AdverTool Advertising campaign management 1.1 Advertisement tool 2010
Abiquo (1,3,4) Abiquo Cloud management 1.6 Abiquo 2008
Avactis (1,3,4) Avactis eCommerce software 2.0 Avactis Shopping Cart 2001
Birt_Project (2) Actuate Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools 2.1.3 BIRT Exchange
Alfresco (1,3,4) Alfresco Enterprise Content Management, Web Content Management 2.2 Alfresco 2006
OpenQuote (4) Applied Industrial Logic Online Insurance Quotation solution 1.3 OpenQuote Community 2011
AppStacks (3) AppStacks AppStacks Open Source application suites leveraging workflow, websites. 2.0 AppStacks 2010
OpenClinica (1,3) Akaza Research Clinical Trials Software for Electronic Data Capture (EDC) and Clinical Data Management (CDM) 3.0.4 OpenClinica 2005
OpenSearchServer (1,4) OpenSearchServer Enterprise Search 1.2 OpenSearchServer 2009
Bacula (1,3,4) Bacula Data Backup / Recovery 2.7 Bacula  ?
Bonita Open Solution (1,4) BonitaSoft Business Process Management Suite 5,3 Bonita Open Solution 2001
Ubuntu (1) Canonical Ltd Server and client Linux distribution 10.10 Ubuntu 2004
CSI TriSano (1,3) Collaborative Software Initiative Globalized Surveillance, Case Management and Outbreak Management for disease, bioterrorism and environmental hazards 2.5 TriSano 2009
Compiere (1,3,4) Compiere ERP and CRM 2.6.1 Compiere 2000?
ProjeLead (1,4) Pragmatis Consulting Project Management / Project Collaboration 2.0 ProjeLead 2009
Open Workbench (1,4) Computer Associates Project Management / Governance Tools 1.1.4 Open Workbench 2004
db4o (1,4) db4o ODBMS 6.0 db4o  ?
Entrance (1) dbEntrance Software SQL-based data exploration tool 1.3.34 Entrance Community 2007
EyeOS (1,3,4) EyeOS Cloud computing operating system 2.1beta EyeOS 2007
Asterisk (1,4) Digium PBX server / Telephony toolkit Asterisk 2004[1]
Funambol Server (1,4) Funambol Mobile Email and PIM Synchronization 6.0 Funambol
(née Sync4j)
GAIUS: Generic Automated Integrated Universal System Imtech Machine Automation and Machine Supervisor, advanced SCADA 2.0
on request
Poseidon for UML (1) Gentleware Software Modeling Tool 6.0 ArgoUML 1998
Lotus Symphony (1,4) IBM Office Productivity Suite Eclipse,
Rational Application Developer (1,4) IBM Software Development Tools Eclipse 2002?
Websphere (1,4) IBM Web Server, Application Server, Middleware Apache 2002?
Hyperic HQ SpringSource Application & System Monitoring 4.6 Hyperic Application & System Monitoring  ?
ITCOCKPIT (4) GmbH Proactive System- and Networkmonitoring Solution with SLA-, End-2-End- and Business Process Monitoring 3.0 ITCOCKPIT 2005
Ingres Database (1) Ingres RDBMS 9.3 Ingres  ?
Intalio BPMS (1,4) Intalio Business Process Management - Workflow 5.2 Eclipse, Intalio  ?
Snare (1,4) InterSect Alliance Log collection and analysis 4.0 Snare 2001
Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite (1) JasperSoft Reporting, Dashboards, Analysis, Data Integration; End to End BI solution 3.7 JasperForge 1996
Palo Business Intelligence Suite (1,3,4) Jedox AG Palo is a Open-Source BI solution for Corporate Performance Management and OLAP-based Planning, Analysis, Consolidation and Reporting. 3.0 Jedox AG 2002
Jitterbit Integration Server (1,4) Jitterbit Application Integration 1.3 Jitterbit 2006?
Jumper 2.0 (4) Jumper Networks Universal search tool powered by enterprise social bookmarking Project Jumper 2008
Kaltura (1,3) Video Platform Video and rich media management platform and applications 4.0 Kaltura 2006
KnowledgeTree (1,3,4) KnowledgeTree Document and Records Management System 3.4 KnowledgeTree 2004
Liferay Portal (4) Liferay Enterprise web portal 5.0.1 Liferay Portal 2000?
LogicalDOC (1,3,4) Logical Objects Srl Document Management System 6.1 LogicalDOC Document Management - DMS 2004
LucidWorks (4) Lucid Imagination Open Source Search Platform Apache Lucene / Solr 2010
LogLogic 1 LogLogic Lasso collect Windows event logs 4.0.0 Project Lasso 2006
Magento Enterprise (?) Magento eCommerce 1.7 Magento 2008
Mendix Agile Business Platform (?) Mendix agile application lifecycle management PaaS 3.0 Mendix 2005
ManyDesigns Portofino (1) ManyDesigns Web framework 3.1.10 Portofino 2009
Mule (1,4) MuleSoft Enterprise Service Bus and Integration Platform 1.4 Mule 2003
Mono (1) Novell Open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET application framework 2.4 Mono  ?
MobileReflex (?) MobileReflex Enterprise Mobile Applications  ? MobileReflex  ?
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (4) Novell Enterprise server and client Linux distribution 11.1 OpenSUSE  ?
Openbravo (4) Openbravo ERP 2.33 Openbravo ERP 2001
OrangeHRM OrangeHRM HR Management 2.6.6 Orange HRM 2006
Open CASCADE Technology (1,4) Open Cascade SAS Software library for 3D CAD / CAM / CAE applications 6.4 Open CASCADE Technology 1999
Berkeley DB (?) Oracle DBMS engines 4.6, 3.2, 2.3 Berkeley DB, Java edition, XML edition
(née Sleepycat)
Pentaho Business Intelligence Suite (4) Pentaho Business Intelligence, Data Mining, Data Integration, Analytics, Reporting, and Dashboards 3.5.2 Pentaho Open BI Suite 2004
Precurio Precurio Intranet Intranet, Collaboration, Help Desk, Project Management, Workflow 3.0 Klein Devort 2010
Posterita (1) Posterita Retail POS 1.6 Posterita POS 2007
FUSE ESB (4) Progress Software Enterprise service bus v3 Apache ServiceMix 2006
FUSE Services Framework (4) Progress Software JAX-WS 2.0 service-enablement framework v2 Apache CXF 2006
FUSE Mediation Router (4) Progress Software Routing and process mediation engine v1 Apache Camel 2006
Fuse Message Broker (4) Progress Software JMS platform v5 Apache ActiveMQ 2006 (3,4) Project and Portfolio Management 8.2.1 projectnet 2000
Project-Open (3,4) Project-Open Project and Portfolio Management 3.4 Project-Open 2003
Projectivity (1,4) Projectivity Best-practices management of Projects, Documents, Resources and Frameworks 3.0 Projectivity Open Source 2006
Quipu QOSQO Data warehouse generation, business intelligence 2.0 Quipu 2010
JBoss Enterprise Middleware (1,3,4) Red Hat Enterprise Middleware based on Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5.1.1 2001
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (3,4) Red Hat Enterprise server and client Linux distribution 5 Fedora Project  ?
Red Hat Enterprise IPA(3,4) Red Hat Identity management for Linux and Unix systems 1 freeIPA 2008
Red Hat Network Satellite(3,4) Red Hat Systems management platform for Linux infrastructure  ? Spacewalk  ?
389 Directory Server (3,4) Red Hat LDAP-compliand directory server  ? Fedora Directory Server  ?
Revolution R (1,4) Revolution Analytics Statistical analysis environment 4.3 R Project 2008
Ext JS (1) Sencha Cross-browser JavaScript Framework 3.2.1 Ext JS 2007
Ext GWT (1) Sencha Java Framework for Google Web Toolkit 2.1.1 Ext GWT 2007
Sencha Touch (1) Sencha HTML5 Mobile App Framework 1.0 Sencha Touch 2010
SilverStripe (1,4) SilverStripe Enterprise CMS and development framework 2.2 SilverStripe 2008
Skyway Builder (1) Skyway Software Code generation for Java applications running on the Spring Framework 6.2 Skyway Builder Community Edition 2002
Softabar Command Line Email Client Softabar Command line email client. 3.0.1 SCLEC 2005
Spring Framework (1) SpringSource Software Development Framework 2.5 Spring  ?
Squiz (1,3,4) Enterprise Content Management System v3.16.10 (PHP4), v3.18.3 (PHP5) MySource Matrix 1998
SugarCRM (1,3) SugarCRM Sales Force Automation 6.2 SugarCRM 2004
NetBeans (1,4) Sun Microsystems Software Development Tools
(Java, Ruby, Perl, PHP, etc.)
6.9 NetBeans 2000
Java Enterprise System (1,4) Sun Microsystems Application Server, Middleware, LDAP, etc. 5 Java 2003?
MySQL Enterprise (1,4) Sun Microsystems RDBMS 5.0 MySQL Community 1995
Solaris (1,4) Sun Microsystems Operating System 10 OpenSolaris 2005?
StarOffice (4) Sun Microsystems Office Productivity Suite 8.0 2000
Sun Studio (1,4) Sun Microsystems Software Development Tools for C, C++ 8.1 NetBeans 2000
Talend Open Studio (4) Talend Data Integration 3.2.3 Talendforge 2006
Talend Open Profiler (4) Talend Data Profiling, Data Quality 3.2.3 Talendforge 2008
Tasktop (1,2) Tasktop Task-focused interface 1.6 Mylyn 2008
Terracotta Terracotta JVM level clustering 2.7 Terracotta  ?
Cruise Control Enterprise (4) ThoughtWorks Software Development Tools 1.0 CruiseControl 2007
RubyWorks (1,4) ThoughtWorks Software Development Tools /
Runtime Environment
1.0 Several 2007
blee(p) (1) Transverse Telecom Billing Support System 1.0 blee(p) 2009
Qt (1) Trolltech GUI development toolkit 4.4 Qt  ?
Untangle (1) Untangle Network Gateway Platform 8.0 Untangle 2007
UseResponse (1) USWebStyle Self-hosted Customer Support Software 1.0 UseResponse 2011
Vyatta (1,4) Vyatta Router, firewall, VPN VC3 Vyatta Community 2006
XAware (1,4) XAware Data Integration, Composite Data Services 5.4 XAware Forge 2000
Zarafa (1,3,4) Zarafa Email and calendaring solution 6.40 Zarafa opensource edition 2005
Zend Core / Platform(1,4) Zend Commercialized version of PHP language, infrastructure 3.6 Vyatta Community 2002?
Zenoss (2) Zenoss Application, Network, and Systems Management 2.3 Zenoss Core 2006
Zimbra (1,3,4) Zimbra Enterprise Email Messaging and Collaboration 5.0.16 Zimbra Open Source Edition 2004
Zmanda Zmanda File / dbms backup and recovery 2.6.1 Zmanda Community Edition  ?
Zope (3,4) Zope Content management system and web portal 2.10.5  ?

See also


  1. ^ "Asterisk Version 1.0 released at Astricon". VentureVoIP. 24 September 2004. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Commercial open source software — COSS redirects here. For the rail safety usage, see Controller of site safety. The phrase Commercial open source software (COSS) is used as a euphemism for Proprietary Open Source Software that contains some elements of free and open source… …   Wikipedia

  • Open source software — (OSS) began as a marketing campaign for free software [cite web archiveurl= title=Frequently Asked Questions |publisher=Open Source Initiative archivedate=2006 04 23… …   Wikipedia

  • Open Source for the Enterprise: Managing Risks, Reaping Rewards —   …   Wikipedia

  • Open-source software — The logo of the Open Source Initiative Open source software (OSS) is computer software that is available in source code form: the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license… …   Wikipedia

  • Open source — This article is about the production and development model. For its application to software, see Open source software. For the form of intelligence collection management, see Open source intelligence. For other uses, see Open source… …   Wikipedia

  • Open source video games — (also known as open source games or free games) are video games which are open source software. Open source games, which are free software and contain exclusively free content are freely distributable, and often cross platform compatible. Many… …   Wikipedia

  • Open source video game — FlightGear flight simulator An open source video game, or simply an open source game, is a video game whose source code is open source. They are often freely distributable and sometimes cross platform compatible. Many are included in Linux… …   Wikipedia

  • Open-source enterprise architecture tools — are a class of enterprise architecture tool that are licensed such that they can be freely used, extended and modified by anyone. Traditionally, enterprise architecture tools are proprietary based and require a license and sometimes a support… …   Wikipedia

  • Open-source architecture — (OSArc) is an emerging paradigm[citation needed]describing new procedures for the design, construction and operation of buildings, infrastructure and spaces. Drawing from references as diverse as open source culture, avant garde architectural… …   Wikipedia

  • Open source movement — The open source movement is a broad reaching movement of individuals who feel that software should be produced altruistically[citation needed]. Open source software is made available for anybody to use or modify, as its source code is made… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.