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Issue #3: open source problem

asked 2015-12-01 12:05:26 +0200

Dreej gravatar image

updated 2015-12-02 14:14:16 +0200

I always read "make sailfish open source" But I think, for a Company they will earn money it is the wrong way. If Intex bring a SFOS Phone, they only can pay for the full package included the closed parts. No one pay for a completely open OS. And the money is the problem at the moment.

Option 1: Jolla can make a Yearly licence for individuals Option 2: Everything remains as before Option 3: Jolla goes bust

Wich one do you prefer?

Edit December 02 Thanks guys for the discussion. I knew it would take a lot for the downvotes for this. But not only Jolla, the community can be considered critical too And I as a skilled businessman can judge everything well. The truth is, Money makes the world go round. So you brought a lot of good ideas, and so I hope, someone of Jolla read this and draws the correct conclusions. That's why I started the discussion

In the end, we all want the same. Jolla and Sailfish must survive

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Can we assume what Intex really pays for? Does anyone see the contracts? I guess that these licenses are better defined and more complex, like we would suppose.

cy8aer ( 2015-12-01 12:15:01 +0200 )edit

@Andal could you please change the title? Make it little more precise. it makes the interpretation so subjective. We could understand at the beginning that you are for open-source. Then you are against, and then you give suggestions. I find the title not speaking about the problematic.
As suggestion i would give "Leaks of fully Open-Source strategy" (maybe bad but is an example).

cemoi71 ( 2015-12-01 12:41:05 +0200 )edit

There is another option: Dual-licensing.

Jolla could make their code available publicly and cost-free for non-commercial use and offer a commercial license that entitles for re-distribution and offers additional services from Jolla, e.g. in form of a sibscription model.

This way the community could help maintaining and improving the code base while Jolla can build up a sustainable business model.

DieUnwucht ( 2015-12-01 13:03:59 +0200 )edit

A yearly license is out of the question - who would accept that your phone stops working if you don't pay the fee? I would rather pay a premium per device (Windows style).

Giacomo Di Giacomo ( 2015-12-01 13:14:56 +0200 )edit

@DieUnwucht: Without the the right to re-distribute, it wouldn't satisfy the definition of open-source as currently accepted. And people will crib even more. :) And I think it wouldn't be legally possible as some of the existing code-base may have licenses that prohibit such clauses.

sifartech ( 2015-12-01 13:15:42 +0200 )edit

2 Answers

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answered 2015-12-01 12:36:48 +0200

mikelima gravatar image

You may think you cannot make money out of open source, but that is not actually true.

It seems to work for Cyanogen, to make an example in the telephony world.

Jolla could offer the service of porting and maintaining the customer devices in their periodic builds, and can offer the licensing of the extra closed source packages that, while not essential, improve the user experience (say android support, virual keyboard dictionaries, maps).

Creating a Base Support Package for your device is a specialized work, that Jolla has experience in. They could sell to the manufacturer the support for their devices in change of a yearly subscription, in addition to initial porting/certification.

So the business model can work, and can make money. Not as much money as completely controlling the platform as Apple does, but it should still be viable.

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Being open-source from the very beginning could have been a problem, as Jolla was learning to adapt the software in the best ways. But now, there is not only an existing code base, there is a whole company with its know-how and experience. When you sell software, the software itself often doesn't matter that much; it's the associated services that count: experience, know-how, maintenance, support, quality. That is worth money, and recurrent money, much more than the software itself.

Tofe ( 2015-12-01 12:51:22 +0200 )edit

Cyanogen's main job is not actually to write code: they exploit a large codebase developed by people who get paid for it by Google, that sources the money by reselling user data.

Giacomo Di Giacomo ( 2015-12-01 13:16:13 +0200 )edit

@mikelima then i invite you to think about why exist cyanogen OS (not cyangenmod rom)... and how it is started...

cemoi71 ( 2015-12-01 13:16:19 +0200 )edit

please give a look here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CyanogenMod and here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replicant_%28operating_system%29. Seems that cmd is not so open as you told. there is anyway some closed parts. And to get rid of it you should turn to replicant os. what is that? i didn't knew it too.

See on https://cyngn.com/about too
You can observe who works on it, the motivation, and the investors...
Wait!!! the investors!!! damned! why is there so much investors who are behind cyanogen OS?
seems that they feels good there by cyanogen team.

anyway you should compare what is comparable, cyanogen is based on android, and benefit fully from it and its ecosystem. Jolla, make possible to install some of android applications. But that is a really small benefit comparing to cmd...

My point of view.

cemoi71 ( 2015-12-01 13:30:00 +0200 )edit

@Giacomo Di Giacomo: Probably 99+% of Sailfish is Open source software, by line of code. I stand by my answer, you can buid a business out of open source software, if you build expertise, offer service and add value to the open source. Plus, nobody is asking to open source everything. If they fear to lose control, they could keep the artwork/audio assets closed. This would not prevent competition, but it could avoid platform fractioning, if this is the fear.

mikelima ( 2015-12-01 13:40:24 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-12-01 12:55:38 +0200

t-lo gravatar image

Licensing is only one way to survive as a (partially) Open Source company. It's the Freemium strategy one can find thorough the Android and IPhone app shops: offer a basic set of functions for free (the Open Source part), but sell additional (and very desirable) closed modules to feed your devs. Jolla seems to have chosen this strategy; as a result, they can never go full FOSS this way (they'd be giving away their assets).

A better option (at least if you follow RMS' arguments) would be to offer an "implementation service": secure payment from clients for implementing specific functionality or features, or even apps. Clients can e.g. be operators like Intex, ODMs like Fairphone, competitors like Canonical or Nokia, or crowd-fund projects by the community. After implementation completed, the code is released for everybody. In this scenario, going full FOSS is an option - your assets would be your developers, and your domain specific expertise, instead of your code. However it would require major management and operational changes to Jolla in order to set them up for this.

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I do +1 the "implementation service": I would definitely pay money to Jolla in order to have a full Sailfish (not only the community version, but also all the extra like the Android VM) on the Fairphone 2.

And given how much interest there has been online to see a combination of Fairphone's "fair trade" hardware and Jolla's Sailfish OS, it may be worth giving a try (crowdfunding campaign to finance it ? it will be a nice direct way to get an idea of how much real interest there is)

DrYak ( 2015-12-01 23:28:49 +0200 )edit

@DrYak My point exactly. I do however firmly believe that Jolla Oy should run these campaigns; a third party would further complicate things.

Also, you might want to take a look at https://together.jolla.com/question/122542/new-indiegogo-crowd-fund-missing-features/ .

t-lo ( 2015-12-01 23:38:04 +0200 )edit

The "pay to make" sounds a bit unfair; you build once, get paid for it, but it gets used by 999 more users for free. So you not only get paid only once, loosing the revenue of the 999, but the one who pays, has to pay for all the others who will use the product in the future. This model, in my opinion, is (intentionally or not) skewed towards the user. This will cause the cost for new features to sky-rocket.

tortoisedoc ( 2015-12-02 14:49:59 +0200 )edit

@tortoisedoc that's exactly the way successful FOSS projects, e.g. the Linux kernel, work today. Interested parties pay (their developers, a dev service, or with their own time and expertise) in order to scratch their own itches. Everybody else gets to use the results of that work, too. It's not unfair, because you pay for what you would want to get, with the amount you think it's worth it. Others do that for their needs, and you gain from their results, too. Also, you gain from the current state of the project, i.e. all the previous payments that have been made.

I'd argue that, all in all, a party participating in the project has more gains (from all the other parties) than losses.

t-lo ( 2015-12-02 14:56:06 +0200 )edit

@t-lo the linux kernel is kind of a no-brainer in these terms, as the whole linux world relies on it. Your app will never reach the same level, unless it replaces the linux kernel. Do you see the point here?

tortoisedoc ( 2015-12-02 15:36:33 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2015-12-01 12:05:26 +0200

Seen: 1,264 times

Last updated: Dec 02 '15