How do people behind Open Source earn money?

If you are a computer or mobile user then many times you might have come across the word “Open Source”.

What is Open Source?

Open-source software (OSS) is computer software that is available in source code form: the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under an open-source license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software.

Open source software is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner. Open-source software is the most prominent example of open-source development and often compared to (technically defined) user-generated content or (legally defined) open content movements.

Open Source is dominating the whole computer industry. Most of the servers we see are running on Linux operating systems and most of the blogs and websites are using open source content management systems like WordPress or Movable Type. Even Android is an open source operating system.

Open Source are managed by organizations which are registered as not profit entity. These Organization does nothing much except managing the official website and the core contents. The actual work is done by the people around the world who do contribution in such open source projects.

You might have many time thought how such open source earn money or make profits?

Generally it runs with the help of donations made by users around the world which is enough for paying their hosting and other bills. Apart from this they also have another company which is commercial and is private which makes the actual money by giving various services & trainings related to their open source softwares. Such companies are generally founded by the founder of the open source project.

For example:


It is one of the most popular distributors of Linux.

Open Source site: Ubuntu

Commercial site:  Canonical

Canonical provides paid services such as training and other technical help related to Ubuntu.



It runs the free encyclopedia of the world known as Wikipedia.

Open Source site: Wikimedia

Commercial site:  Wikia

Wikimedia offers free downloads of softwares and Wikia use the same software to earn money by advertising.



One of the best open source operating system by Google.

Open Source site: Android

Commercial site: Google

Google sells lot of apps in the Android market which earns them lot of money.



It is one of the most popular CMS mostly used for creating blogs and websites.

Open Source site:

Commercial site: Automattic

Here the founder has started another site where he provides various paid and free services.


Movable Type

It is another most popular CMS mostly used for creating blogs and websites.

Open Source site: Movable Type

Commercial site: Six Apart

It earns money by providing various paid services at TypePad.



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