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Muncher

is open source viable for a company

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Hello, this could be a really silly thought, so beware :) But is making all of your source for a commercial project (game, or related field) completely open source with a GNU license good idea. I can see lots of benefits, especially in being able to use other open source code within your project, saving time for developing in house. You can still sell your product, as all of the content is copyrighted and needs to be purchased; i guess one of the problems is if alot of your IP is the code itself... Are any commercial companies taking this approach? It would be great if everyone did it :) Muncher

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Yes, many companies do that. All the Linux distros have most of their code GPLed.
IBM, Novel, and others have a lot of GPL code.
So it is a good idea if it fits with your business plan.

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If your products are software, then going open source is A Bad Idea™. Companies that "sell" open source software actually sell support contracts and customization services for the software.

What is your company's [projected] core competency? If it's software development, then open source is not for you - unless you want to turn that software development into a service, and not a product (in which case, open source can help draw attention to your skills). If, however, you core competency is customer service, or support, or on-site/to-spec customization, then open source is a viable option for you.

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My understading of OC software is rather limited; but if you sold OC software, are you also selling the content? Is that what you mean by customization services?

If i sold software that compliled to a single executable, then going open source would be a bad idea. But if that executable required additional content to run your program (ie/ model files, bitmaps, sound files) then these remain your property.. so it's not all that bad?

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You could try that, but you'd loose a big benefit from going OSS: building a developer community. If the extra contents still needs to be bought, you won't build up a large community around your project. So, it depends on the reaosn why you want to go open source.

If you want to be able to use existing OSS code in your project, then it could be viable. If you want to build a community so you'll get patches, fixes and testing done better, then it's less viable.

Also take into account that the OSS community could simply producte alternative, free content and use that instead of yours (e.g. freeDoom).

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Quote:
Original post by Sander
Also take into account that the OSS community could will simply produce alternative, free content and use that instead of yours (e.g. freeDoom).

Fixed.

Open source is not a viable development model for a game company if your primary revenue source is supposed to be game sales. It's a questionable model even if your revenue source is subscriptions, because an open source client simplifies the process of automation and hacking that much. Not that it's impossible, though; you just need to either have an innovative game design that is nigh on impossible to cheat at, or engaging gameplay that's balance just right such that cheating yields a negligible advantage.

The question you should be asking yourself is why you're thinking of open source, and what benefit it brings to your operations as a profit-oriented entity. Basically, you need to make the business case for open source in your process, as opposed to the ideological argument for it.

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