I came across this article on BusinessWeek which prompted me to get me to put down some of my own thoughts:
Commercial Open source models are starting to resemble proprietary software models. In fact open source software providers want to take advantage of all the free community work they can get like adding new piece of code, debugging, testing and spreading the word for the product but when it comes to the supported version – the cost structures are looking more and more like proprietary software. The original idea of open source software was to let community develop a product where everybody can contribute and even somebody wanted to use the software but was not tech savvy they could get support for nominal cost. Well those support subscription have really gone from nominal to sky high and have started to resemble like licensing cost of commercial softwares.
SaaS could provide a possible solution to this problem. It allows developer community to continue to contribute, test and debug software while letting commercial companies deliver and support the same software at low monthly cost. Not all software will fall into this category but the ones that do should seriously look at this option.
LinearCube has done exactly that. We have taken an open source document management product from Alfresco and are delivering as an online document management system for low cost. There are opportunity that exists within other area to apply the same model similar to what we have done in Electronic Document Management System area.