Free Open Source Software Business Models

a concrete example of consulting and process reingeneering supported by FOSS-only


A story dedicated to developers and system administrators started from LUG’s

After graduation: Many friend working as freelance self employed into IT as System administrators.
The difficulties that have been found have been:

  • the commercial part
  • the business of software licenses changing from the model of pay-per number of installed users to “pay as a service” on cloud
  • Commercial competition: System administrators and network managers against the rest of proprietary software with much marketing power and
    much lobbying power
  • High level management consultant connected with proposing their “business partners” with non-free softwares
  • You survive only with a friendly IT manager who knows the advantages of FOSS and the underlying philosophy


  • Entering companies by consultant into process re-engineering (or today as “company digitalization”) consultant.
    You need Studies on industrial Engineering and management to drive correctly developer’s energy.
    The topic: Business process reingeneering to help Company grow. That’s the world of high-end customer applications like ERP, MRP, MES Systems
    (now also ‘industry 4.0’ government-inventive programs).
    Approach working perfectly with FOSS:
    The software is highly interoperable, many Company search you for high customizable products.
    FOSS is perfect for high-customization requests, as it is ‘open’ as tech, but also ‘open’ as accessible and inter operable. The key must be also having
    open ‘assistance contract’.

Company also call for in open source world when:

  • they have been in legal issues with previous vendor, so they really have read the software licenses, they understand the threat and they search for FOSS (that’s so good).
  • they search ‘low cost’ ready-as-is 0 cost softwares (poor approach – that’s not so good)
  • they search ‘high customizable’ and without ‘vendor lock-ins’ software, searching for freedom.

FOSS consultancy company as startup, to evolve requires some steps:

  • searching for an FOSS platform to start with and to build on (example: the international project)
  • with the help of some customer-sponsor, creating extensions modules to reach Italian standard (example: accounting or market-specific processes
  • focusing on creating pre-configured demo-company for specific markets (ex, metalworking market, agribusiness market, pest control market, …)

The result after ‘usual’ FOSS project into a Company:

  • Companies always asking for new developments
  • Easy software integration with already-existent Company infrastructures
  • You can be married to the Company so that the IT structure grows up with the Company growing
  • No limits with technology as is it FOSS, and that is a no-limit for the customer company to build and grow
  • An very honest approach helps long-term relationship and assures continuos income and working requests.


  • Asking users to leave windows for Linux
  • Problems raised, what has driven the success