Using open source in business is more than just adopting technology that has freely shared source code. It also requires a deep understanding of how to incorporate open source development models, how to build revenue streams in competitive open source markets, and how to interact with the open source community’s system of governance. The company must also be willing to provide solutions to a community in which only a tiny portion pay for services, and those that contribute to the project are accepted as “owning” a portion of the product.
There are two primary forms of open source business models. The first is foundation centric in which a single non-profit organization produces large amounts of code and helps vendors create value as a part of a much larger ecosystem. The best example of this is Linux, which relies on the Linux Foundation to foster collaboration between companies and to fund the project. The second model is when the open source project and the company are nearly the same thing. Docker and MySQL are both prime examples of this. These models require different approaches to the community, generating profits, and the development of the underlying technologies.