In 2004 I co-founded Pentaho to provide Business Intelligence (BI) under a commercial open source software business model. After spending a few years immersed in commercial open source software I created the Beekeeper model as a way to share my thoughts about the workings of this business model. Two more years have gone by and I have expanded the model based on the encouraging feedback I got from many people.
There are various kinds of commercial open source business models and various companies using variations of those models. The first version of the Beekeeper model only addressed commercial open source companies using a ‘single vendor’ model where members of a single commercial organization write most of the software. This second version includes models for companies that write little or none of the software and that provide services and/or support for software that they do not author. It also includes analogous models for proprietary software companies and pure/
organic open source projects.
Companies using the single-vendor commercial open source models include MySQL, Ingres, Compiere, Open Bravo, Liferay, SugarCRM, Pentaho, Mule, OpenNMS, Alfresco, JBoss, Digium, and Zimbra. In this document I will refer to this collection of business models as the ‘single-vendor’ model to indicate that the direction and development of the software is funded by a single company.
Companies using the support or services commercial open source model include Optarus, Sourcesense, OpenLogic, SpikeSource, and Open For Buisiness (OFBiz).