Most open-source licenses allow people to download and use the software for free. That cuts down on the cost of acquiring the software but business customers still require services, ranging from upfront consulting to ongoing support once the software is installed and training for internal staff.
With the number of open-source products on the rise, there has been a surge in services offerings – such as consulting and support – designed specifically for open-source software like Linux, the Apache Web server and MySQL database.
“More and more, the emphasis is going from the bits to the services wrapped around those bits,” said Kim Polese, an industry veteran who helped develop the Java programming language and who is now CEO of SpikeSource.
“One of the biggest frustrations on the part of IT with the vendor-dominated industry is that you had over-engineered products with so many features stuffed into them that 80 percent of them were not used,” Polese said. “With open source, you strip down the code and use exactly what you need.”