1- Dual (or twin) licensing: Companies distributing software with both a GPL-like license and a commercial (i.e. fee-based) license. (For those wondering, Wikipedia explains dual-licensing pretty well). The key idea is to secure and to leverage the rights from all the contributors involved. Examples include:
- Funambol (Mobile Platform / Development)
- SleepyCat/Oracle (Embedded DB)
- MySQL/SUN (MySQL as in LAMP )
- TrollTech/NOKIA (Mobile Platform)
- Pentaho (Business Object made FOSS)
- MuleSource (SOA platform)
2- Split (or mixed) model: usually companies distributing interesting commercial (fee-based) plug-ins on a FOSS success (e.g. Firefox) with a liberal license (e.g. Mozilla MPL). Thin line to walk since plug-in can always be developed / reverse engineered by FOSS developers. Examples include:
- Hyperic (IT Operations/Monitoring)
- SourceFire (The Intrusion Detection System SNORT made commercial)
- Zimbra/Yahoo (messaging / groupware)
- XenSource/Citrix (virtualization)
3- Badgeware: Basically a makeover of the idea behind the original BSD license related to advertising and visibility clauses. In short: you can use it but you’ve got to advertise us. Examples include:
4- Specialist/Vertical: The code is distributed free but support, training and consulting are provided by the company. Some also provide on-demand/SaaS. Examples include:
5- Platform providers: Close to the previous one (specialist) but focusing on larger environments (e.g. Linux). Often distributing “closed” distribution guaranteeing stability, enterprise support etc. Examples include:
- JBoss/RedHat (Enterprise Application Server/ SOA)
- Red Hat (well they do so many things nowadays ..)
- Suze Linux/Novell (Linux distro made Enterprise)
- EnterpriseDB distributing PostGreSQL
6- Consulting companies specializing in FOSS zillion of them ...
A few others have been in my opinion misclassified or forgotten altogether by
7- Componentry: Companies extending the model of Specialist (above) to a set of simpler and useful components. Often plays on "fear" (your code is contaminated!) and “certification” (be safe, sleep tight, we guarantee). Examples include:
8- Search engines How to find the right source code and its license? And yes, Google is here too and also a few VC-backed companies thinking in the worst case they can always turn into FOSS
management companies… Examples include:
- Google code search (Labs) (note: don't want to offer the AGPLv3)
- Koders 2-4 M pages /day according to Alexa (update: acquired by Black Duck 04/28/08)
9- Community/Resources The traditional repositories but also various and large forums/discussion boards. Examples include:
- SourceForge/SourceForge Inc.
- FreshMeat/SourceForge Inc.
- The Code Project
- Ohloh (uses CollabNet platform)
- EOS Directory
10- FOSS management/Compliance The idea here is really to play on people’s fear that their proprietary software might have been contaminated by a GNU-like license. Hence products and services geared towards cleansing, identification and Open Source compliance enforcement.
Obviously "Free" in "Free Open Source developer" does mean "Free" as in "Free beer"!