how do open-source software companies make money?

What do companies get in return from their open source project?

how do open-source software companies make money?
Source: Google

Big companies like Google, Microsoft always make their most technology open source. These tech giants invest their billons, but after some time make it public, everyone can access free of cost to use. But here a question from me that how do open-source software companies make money?

In the late 90s, thought of making their technology public would have been considered a bad strategy for tech companies. They always try to hide and protect their technologies. In 2020, tech companies make their technology has become mainstream.

The most profitable tech companies, which have annual revenue of 1 billion, their main technology is open source like RedHat, Cloudera, MongoDB, Spark, etc.

Facebook, Google, and other tech giants give open-source incredible importance to gather new innovation and build a big development community.

For Example, Flutter vs react native, Tenserflow vs Py torch, and others. On these tech giants, Google and Facebook are developers and customer-focused contribution but Microsoft and AWS are more enterprise-focused in open source. But Why companies make their tech open source?

Continuous innovation:

Actually, open source is an industry of continuous innovation. You are going to use by the most developers, and if they found some bug, or if they improve something around of one, then at last your coverage of tech innovation grows exponentially. Companies will recognize their potential issue in their code form different perspectives and ultimately millions of tech enthusiasts work and working to develop this tech for you. It actually builds a powerful in as compare to low cost and time.

Of course, the company keeps the main workforce that contributes to the project and they have a major role in managing new contributions. Additionally, it gives them to chance than they might hire them. At last, it makes a big community and the company is the head of this community.

Sometimes Open source may not be preferred:

No doubt, open-source is profitable in specific business use cases like RedHat, MongoDB, etc. In the case of Artificial Intelligence, which is advanced, unpredictable, and challenging for researchers to monetize on their idea and fund of research.

Example — Elon Mask’s OpenAI started as a non-profitable research lab but after a partnership with Microsoft, they are making all their innovation through commercial APIs as opposed to open source.


Top Opensource Projects

1. Visual Studio Code:

It is an open-source free code editor developed by Microsoft. It was ranked the most popular developer environment according to stack overflow.

2. TensorFlow:

TensorFlow, a high-performance numeric computation open-source Machine Learning framework developed by Google. It supports API to develop beginner and expert level cloud-based applications.

3. Ansible:

Ansible is an IT automation tool. It was written on python language and its usage YAML, both are relatably easy to learn.

4. Vault:

It is a tool for secret management. Vault provides a unified interface for any secret while providing tight access control and recording a detailed audit log.

5. Kubernetes:

Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration system designed for the automation of deployment and scaling, and for the management of containerized applications. It was developed by Google and now it no 5 open source project.

Actually there are many other popular development tools available. Here just listed five of those. I think now you know that how do open-source software companies make money.


In amongst tech giant, companies like Apple, Microsoft are very open-source friendly and they make open source a limited amount of products like libraries, etc. They have a very small contribution to the whole ecosystem compare to other tech giants.

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