It truly is refreshing to see a company that gets open source. Open source isn’t about some pie-in-the-sky ideal of what software or community is. Open source makes sense business wise.
To me, open source is about:
1.) freedom, since we can customize the code to do what we need it to do rather than what a software company decides is right for us.
2.) pragmatism, since we only have to pay for the part we need customized and yet we get all the other features for free.
It’s funny, everyone always asks, “How do you make money with open source?” This question equates open source with free, which open source is not. That is freeware. The OpenNMS Group is profitable because it provides support and customization for the OpenNMS project. The more they get the OpenNMS project out there and the better services they provide in helping customers’ networks run more efficiently, the more money they make. It’s pretty simple.
Open source empowers the user to put in as little or as much into a product as they wish. No other software model allows us to do that. Think of it like a political campaign. Generally those who spend the most money or effort have the most impact on how the software functions. If it works great as is, you don’t have to do anything. If it has bugs, help fix them. If you need it to do something else, make it do something else or hire someone else to make it do what you want. Just like democracy, open source communities are only as good as the people in them and need good leaders to keep mob mentalities in check.