Business model for Open Source - advice wanted

Evan Simpson evan at 4-am.com
Thu Jul 10 18:13:47 CEST 2003


Frank Millman wrote:
> I am busy developing an accounting package, using Python and wxPython,
> together with PostgreSQL on a Unix platform or SQL Server on a Windows
> platform. I am a qualified accountant and have been developing
> accounting software, mostly customised, for over 20 years.

I know very little about accounting, or software to support it, but this 
paragraph seems to imply that there is a significant market for 
customizations to such software.  Is this correct?  If so, you may want 
to consider the business model that made Zope Corp. a success.

> The essence of a business model must be that the source code may be
> free, but you have to pay for support. I believe that accounting
> systems more than most systems need support, and that a sensible
> company looking for accounting software would not consider anything
> that was not supported.

While Zope Corp. sells support, they make most of their money by selling 
their expertise as Zope custom solution providers.  This *only* works 
because Zope is Free -- instead of being the sole vendor pushing a 
proprietary solution, they are merely the most prominent and 
knowledgable developers for a widely-used platform.

So, if you can create an accounting package that is so good that 
everyone wants to use it, yet allowing substantial demand for 
customization, you can promote yourself as the best provider of such 
services, as well as support.  "I wrote it, so I know it inside and out. 
  I can provide your business with a totally customized accounting 
solution, plus support, for less than you would pay in licensing fees 
for a boxed product."

Cheers,

Evan @ 4-am







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