Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
I have noticed a trend developing in the business models of successful open source companies. These companies are implementing a business model that is based on dual licensing their software.
This press release provides an excellent summary of what dual licensing means.
The guiding principle behind dual licensing is "quid pro quo," or a fair exchange.
Under this model, vendors offer their products under both an open source license and a commercial license. This allows open source projects to use the software at no cost, which contributes to widespread use and testing of the software and the fast growth of a large installed user base. Companies redistributing the software as part of commercial products can also get the benefits of the open source software by purchasing a commercial license, which releases them from requirements to publish their source code. Commercially-licensed customers generate revenue for the open source vendors, which contributes to the rapid development of high-quality software.
In an recent blog post titled "Giving and Taking", Asterisk creator Mark Spencer explains why dual licensing can be a good thing for open source.