Making Money from Better Software

Two interesting business models for people who want to make money from open source software:

  • Coverity is using its static analysis tools to look for defects in widely-used open source packages. Their current report makes for interesting reading; equally interesting is the way that some communities (such as AMANDA) have responded---their defect density dropped dramatically after stats started appearing.
  • SpikeSource assembles (and sells) open source suites---Linux with Apache, PostgreSQL, Perl, etc.---that have actually been tested together, so that you can be confident they'll work.

The common element here is quality: people will always pay for it, just as they will for medicine and chocolate. Makes me wonder whether you could create a business selling insurance on software: "You give us $199/month, and if this crashes more than once per hundred thousand hours of operation, or if someone gets through the security, we'll pay you $10,000." We have a lot of data on how flaky various platforms are, and we can guesstimate the cost of downtime. If any grad students in economics are looking for thesis topics...

In the wake of posts about Shopify's support for white nationalists and DataCamp's attempts to cover up sexual harassment
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