Can You Make Money On Open Source Software

In open source, you’ll need to do a lot of work for free, and at the same time, there will always be people who are willing to pay. By understanding what makes these people interested in your open source software project, you can make maximum amount of money on Open Source Software.

Can you make money on Open Source Software , that’s why i made this article to help developers to generate funds through open source source software development.

Offering paid support is one of the most straightforward revenue streams for all kinds of open source projects. As a project maintainer, you have a lot of knowledge about the codebase. This puts you in the position to offer consultancy or support services to companies that want to use your code. 

On the other hand, offering paid support doesn’t provide a scalable business model for open source projects. Because most projects are maintained by a few developers, there’s limited time for them to offer support to companies. Bear in mind the time required to improve the functionality and maintain the codebase. 

In conclusion, it’s an effective way to earn some money as an open source maintainer and keep the project going.

Open-Core Model

The open-core model offers an interesting alternative for open source projects to monetize their code. The idea behind this model is that you open source the majority of your code. However, a small fraction of your code is licensed as proprietary code. Most often, you want to package modules or extensions for enterprises as proprietary code. 

Therefore, developers can freely use the software in other open source projects. However, companies have to pay for using enterprise-specific modules or integrations. A typical example here is offering proprietary features that are required for configuring the software for production usage. 

Bear in mind that it’s not that straightforward to offer an open-core model. It’s quite a challenge to separate proprietary features from the existing code base into packages or modules. An open source project requires an excellent architectural setup to support the open-care model.

In conclusion, many revenue streams exist for open-source software. Besides the revenue streams mentioned in this blog post, it’s worth exploring other revenue streams such as certifications, training, and VC investments.

Paid support

Many OSS companies succeed by providing extra services.

Such as technical support, certifications, and trainings. In fact, most professional open source companies – including Red Hat, JBoss, and MySQl – have built their entire business by providing free solutions. They generate profits only from additional services.

The most common way to get revenue from OSS is to provide paid support. Red Hat sets the bar for this model, boasting substantial revenue. In 2016, the company – widely known for its enterprise operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux – announced a profit of 2.05 billion dollars.

Red Hat does admirably by selling yearly subscriptions for user and technical support. Customers can choose a subscription plan based on number of requests, severity of requests, support channels and hours of coverage. MySQL, the leading open source database, derives revenue from selling support subscriptions for their product.

Paid support is an effective tool for making profit from open source for a few reasons. First, enterprise owners can save money on their payroll. Instead of hiring in-house specialists, enterprises can have access to certified support specialists on a less expensive basis. Second, enterprises can have peace of mind knowing that they can call in the pros whenever a problem arises.

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Paid certification

If software is popular enough, companies can offer certification opportunities for specialists who want to validate their knowledge and skills. Getting certified, as a developer, is quite useful for a number of reasons. First, it’s a great opportunity to differentiate yourself among other specialists with the same skills. Second, developers realize the importance of networking with mentors and groupmates. Finally, a developer’s certification leads lends them additional professional credibility and even promotions, and can boost a company’s image.
Open source giants including Magento and Red Hat offer a variety of certification options. In fact, Red Hat offers around 30 different kinds of certifications in Red Hat’s products as well as PaaS, business processes, deployment and system management. Magento issue certificates for skills related to Magento development and solutions.

Sharetribe as OpenSaaS

Sharetribe, a marketplace builder, is another great example of an OpenSaaS product. It comes in two versions: a self-hosted free version which can be found on GitHub, and a cloud-based hosted version at With the SaaS version of Sharetribe, customers receive software hosted on Sharetribe’s servers along with full-cycle support and maintenance, from installation to backups. With the SaaS version, customers don’t have to worry about updating their software, as this is done by Sharetribe. But while the SaaS version receives great support and additional offerings like custom domain and removal of Sharetribe branding, this version of Sharetribe is less customizable, only allowing you to personalize marketplace filters and change colors, images, and block position in the user interface.

With the open source version of Sharetribe, on the other hand, the customer has to deploy Sharetribe on their own server and run updates and backups themselves. The GitHub community offers decent support, but ultimately you’re on your own.

Software as a Service

An open source project that has generated plenty of demand can choose to offer a Software as a Service (SaaS) business model. This model is most viable for projects that offer a complete application, such as a publishing platform, monitoring tool, or marketing automation tool.

Developers can choose to host the software themselves. However, this means that they have to take care of security, security, and maintenance. 

It’s often much easier and cheaper to pay for a managed offering under a SaaS model. Developers pay a monthly fee to use the hosted solution. Therefore, they can focus on the tool itself instead of all maintenance-related tasks. Moreover, a marketing or content team often doesn’t have the required technical knowledge to host a solution themselves. For that reason, a SaaS solution is a great alternative to make money from open source software.


Open source software is highly regarded thanks to its security, reliability, and vibrant communities that support it. Moreover, OSS helps companies avoid reinventing the wheel, and can even be used within proprietary software. Altogether, these factors have made OSS quite popular. Today, people are willing to pay for open source software to ensure legal protection, technical support, and professional services. With paid open source technologies, companies can offer the best of both worlds: transparent technology with the support and features of commercial software.


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