On Monday, News.com blogger and Alfresco VP Matt Asay made some interesting observations about the latest release from OpenXchange. The core of his piece discusses the irony in the facts that OpenXchange Express is built on Ubuntu Linux rather than the SuSE system on which it started, and that many members of the OpenXchange management team are former SuSE team members.
Though I, too, am intrigued by the switch, that's an entirely different post -- and it's better suited for our Not Just Linux blog. (Stay tuned...) What is most interesting is the tidbit he brings to the forefront regarding OpenXchange's licensing model. The company gives away the source code, but customers must pay for the assembled product. The distinction is key, Asay notes.
...[Y]ou get 100 percent of the source. But if you want our product, you must pay. Smart. There is no free lunch -- just free source code. And while the core product is GPL (blessing customers while inhibiting competitors), the Web Access Add-on is under a Creative Commons license (CC:by-nc-sa). Sophisticated and fit-for-purpose.
Makes sense to me, and it's a perfect example of the "free speech, not free beer" analogy. The code is freely available, but the company still earns money for its efforts.