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Why Companies Should Consider Open Sourcing Their Software

In the rapidly evolving tech landscape, the decision to open source software can be transformative. It’s not just a technical decision but a strategic one that can redefine how a business competes and innovates. Today, I will explore here why companies should consider open sourcing their software, the benefits it brings, and some personal insights from decades of experience in the tech industry.

Why Consider Open Sourcing?

The journey toward open sourcing software involves understanding its profound impact on business strategy and customer relations. Many business leaders are hesitant to shift away from traditional licensing models because of perceived risks to revenue streams. However, open sourcing can expand a product’s user base and foster a collaborative environment where innovation thrives. Moreover, there are open source licenses that enable companies to retain patent ownership, mitigating the risks.

Open sourcing also serves as a form of insurance for customers. It assures them of continuous support, even if the original provider decides to stop development. This reduces vendor lock-in and makes the software more appealing, particularly in markets that value transparency and sustainability.

Personal Insight:

Two decades ago, my company developed a content management system, VPF (Vishwak Portal Framework), designed to serve major news and media companies globally. Despite its robustness and proven capability to handle millions of pageviews, our initial business model, which included licensing fees alongside development services, did not align with market expectations Our clients, accustomed to less restrictive models, were reluctant to pay additional licensing fees. This led us to pivot and offer our CMS for free as part of our service package. This experience taught us that open sourcing VPF could have leveraged a wider community for support and innovation, potentially increasing our credibility and market presence significantly.

Market Trends:

The tech industry has seen a paradigm shift from proprietary licensing to service-based models. Giants like Microsoft and Amazon exemplify this transition. Microsoft, under Satya Nadella’s leadership, has pivoted towards cloud services and embraced open source, which has been integral to their strategy. Amazon AWS integrates open source technologies like Linux and Xen, demonstrating how they can coexist with commercially successful service offerings.

The Community Aspect:

It’s crucial to understand that open sourcing software doesn’t automatically lead to community contributions or viral success. It requires a deliberate effort to manage the community, including investments in leadership, time, talent and infrastructure to guide contributions towards participation.


Open sourcing is not suitable for every product or company. It works best for software that could quickly become commoditized. In niche markets or highly regulated industries, proprietary solutions might still be the best approach. By aligning open source strategies with long-term business goals and leveraging industry trends, companies can make a compelling case for open sourcing. This approach not only fosters innovation but also positions companies as leaders in the tech community.

Final Thoughts:

As you consider the potential shift towards open source, weigh the strategic benefits against the specific needs and conditions of your market. The journey is complex but, when navigated correctly, can be incredibly rewarding.