Trending February 2024 # 11 Best Tableau Alternatives (Open Source & Free) In 2023 # Suggested March 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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Tableau is a data visualization tool that can connect to almost any data source. However, its licensing costs could be restrictive.

Here is a curated list of Top Alternative tools and software that can replace Tableau. This Tableau Alternative list includes both commercial as well as open-source Tableau alternative tools with popular features and latest download links.

Best Free Tableau Alternatives

Zoho Analytics is a complete self-service BI and analytics platform, and is a worthy alternative to Tableau. Zoho Analytics allows users to prepare and cleanse data, and to visually analyze it in minutes. It uses AI extensively to assist users in every step – from managing data, to creating reports, to giving automated insights.

Features:

Wide variety of visualization options–charts, pivot tables, summary views, KPI widgets and custom themed dashboards.

Do everything with just a browser, no need to install a desktop client like Tableau.

50+ readymade connectors for popular business apps with 100+ prebuilt reports in each.

Augmented analytics using AI, ML and NLP.

White label BI portals and embedded analytics solutions.

Visit Zoho Analytics

2) Sisense

Sisense is a business intelligence tool which analyses and visualizes both big and disparate datasets, in real-time. It is an ideal tool for preparing complex data for creating dashboards with a wide variety of visualizations.

Features:

Unify unrelated data into one centralized place

Create a single version of truth with seamless data

Allows to build interactive dashboards with no tech skills

Query big data at very high speed

Possible to access dashboards even in the mobile device

Drag-and-drop user interface

Eye-grabbing visualization

Enables to deliver interactive terabyte-scale analytics

Exports data to Excel, CSV, PDF Images and other formats

Ad-hoc analysis of high-volume data

Handles data at scale on a single commodity server

Identifies critical metrics using filtering and calculations

3) Oracle

Oracle data warehouse software is a collection of data which is treated as a unit. The purpose of this database is to store and retrieve related information. It is very useful Tableau alternative that helps the server to reliably manage huge amounts of data so that multiple users can access the same data.

Features:

Distributes data in the same way across disks to offer uniform performance

Works for single-instance and real application clusters

Offers real application testing

Common architecture between any Private Cloud and Oracle’s public cloud

Hi-Speed Connection to move large data

Works seamlessly with UNIX/Linux and Windows platforms

It provides support for virtualization

Allows connecting to the remote database, table, or view

4) SAS

SAS is good alternative to Tableau which is a leading Datawarehousing tool that allows accessing data across multiple sources. It can perform sophisticated analyses and deliver information across the organization.

Features:

Activities managed from central locations. Hence, user can access applications remotely via the Internet

Application delivery typically closer to a one-to-many model instead of one-to-one model

Centralized feature updating, allows the users to download patches and upgrades.

Allows viewing raw data files in external databases

Display data using reports and statistical graphics

5) Pentaho

Pentaho is a Data Warehousing and Business Analytics Platform. It is an open source alternative to Tableau tool that has a simplified and interactive approach which empowers business users to access, discover and merge all types and sizes of data.

Features:

Enterprise platform to accelerate the data pipeline

Community Dashboard Editor allows the fast and efficient development and deployment

Big data integration without a need for coding

Simplified embedded analytics

Visualize data with custom dashboards

Ease of use with the power to integrate all data

Operational reporting for mongo dB

Platform to accelerate the data pipeline

6) QlikView

Qlik is one of the Tableau competitors that allows creating visualizations, dashboards, and apps. It also allows seeing the entire story that lives within data.

Features:

Simple drag-and-drop interfaces to create flexible, interactive data visualizations

Use natural search to navigate complex information

Instantly respond to interactions and changes

Supports multiple data sources and file types

It allows easy security for data and content across all devices

It shares relevant analyses, including apps and stories using centralized hub

7) Dundas BI

Dundas is an alternative to Tableau which is an enterprise-ready Business Intelligence platform. It is used for building and viewing interactive dashboards, reports, scorecards and more. It is possible to deploy Dundas BI as the central data portal for the organization or integrate it into an existing website as a custom BI solution.

Features:

Easy access through web browser

Allows to use sample or Excel data

Server application with full product functionality

Integrate and access all kind of data sources

Ad hoc reporting tools

Customizable data visualizations

Smart drag and drop tools

Visualize data through maps

8) Board

Board is a Management Intelligence Toolkit. It combines features of business intelligence and corporate performance management. It is designed to deliver business intelligence and business analytics in a single package.

Features:

Analyse, simulate, plan and predict using a single platform

To build customized analytical and planning applications

Board All-In-One combines BI, Corporate Performance Management, and Business analytics

It empowers businesses to develop and maintain sophisticated analytical and planning applications

Proprietary platform helps to report by accessing multiple data sources

9) Profitbase BI

Profitbase is a business intelligence solution that delivers critical business information. It is one of the Tableau software competitors which allows companies to monitor and manage their business performance. It is appropriate for many commercial markets, including manufacturing and retail.

Features:

It helps make faster decisions based on continuously updated and accurate data

It provides visibility into KPIs in finance, sales, AR/AP, as well as performance measures

It is modular, scalable, and consists of a Data Warehouse augmented with OLAP cubes

The BI software allows adding new business systems through acquisition or system upgrades

It is a module based BI tool so that customers can select the analytic tools best suited for their requirements

10) LongView

LongView Enterprise is a business intelligence reporting and analytics platform. It one of the Tableau competitors that allows rapid creation of custom applications like reports, dashboards, etc.

Features:

Delivers actionable, contextual knowledge to decision-makers at every level

It analyzes information from multiple data sources such as ERP, OLAP, relational databases, and web services

Single-sign-on if integrated with Windows or LDAP

It is available on all web servers

It allows exporting data and reports to Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF

It allows users to share ad-hoc reports with other users

Live data pulled from server and automatically refreshed in real time

Automatic alerts based on thresholds

Display data in animation and motion charts

11) Birst

Birst is a web-based networked BI and analytics solution. It connects insights from various teams and helps in making informed decisions. It is a software like Tableau that allows decentralized users to augment the enterprise data model. It also offers a unified semantic layer to maintain definitions and key metrics.

Features:

Enable Data as a Service

Everyone is Cloud-Connected

Helps end users to access and blend their data with IT-owned data

Rapidly refine enterprise data

Create trusted, governed user data

Create corporate wide metrics

Create top-down Virtual BI instances

Blend corporate and local data

It supports individual agility, transparently governed working with trusted corporate and departmental data

12) SAP Business Intelligence

SAP BI is an integrated business Intelligence software. It is an enterprise level application for open client/server systems. It is one of the Tableau alternatives that has set new standards for providing the best business information management solutions.

Features:

It provides highly flexible and most transparent business solutions

The application developed using SAP can integrate with any system

It follows modular concept for the easy setup and space utilization

Allows to create next-generation database system that combines analytics and transactions

Provide support for On-premise or cloud deployment

Simplified data warehouse architecture

Easy Integration with SAP and non-SAP applications

FAQ: ❓ What is the use of Tableau?

Tableau is used for data visualization. The main purpose of this tool is to help users to see and visualize the data. Tableau helps people to solve data by visualizing it in many ways. Tableau data is to convert the whole raw data into a very understandable format.

🚀 Which are the Best Tableau Alternatives?

Below are some of the Best Tableau Alternatives:

Zoho Analytics

Sisense

Oracle

SAS

Pentaho

QlikView

Dundas BI

Board

Profitbase BI

🏅 Which factors should you consider while selecting Tableau Alternatives?

You should consider the following factors before selecting Tableau Alternative:

License Cost, if applicable.

Quality of Customer support.

The cost involved in training employees on the tool.

Support and Update the policy of the tool vendor.

Reviews of the company.

You're reading 11 Best Tableau Alternatives (Open Source & Free) In 2023

If Windows Goes Open Source

Recently there has been concern surrounding the possibility that one day Windows could be open source. The previous CEO of Microsoft stated point blank that he viewed the concept of open source as a cancer. Is this about-face an indication that Microsoft has evolved and accepts that open source provides far greater value? Even more provoking, could Windows one day join other open source projects?

In this article, I’ll look at what happens if Windows goes open source. How it affects Linux desktops and whether or not open Windows could be a good thing or a Trojan horse.

Even the most die-hard Linux enthusiasts sometimes become confused when they think of open source licensing. They forget there are countless other open source licenses besides the famed GPL license. If Microsoft offers Windows source code under an open source license, you can be sure they’ll guarantee that said code will prevent any competition.

In addition to making sure Windows couldn’t simply be cloned using an existing code base, Microsoft will have waited until their software as a service model has matured. I bet it’ll have matured to a degree that even if someone comes up with Windows “Reloaded,” their proprietary software projects will still only work on the operating systems they’ve blessed.

Microsoft is beginning to accept that the operating system is losing its importance. Web applications and applications that can be run locally in a cross platform nature are beginning to put Microsoft on notice. Software, not operating systems, will run the desktops of tomorrow. Their focus will remain true to this revelation. Anyone competing with Microsoft who fails to realize this will end up a distant second place, even as Windows loses its importance.

One of the best ways to gain adoption is to remove barriers to said adoption. Microsoft apparently is trying their hand at this. They will for at least a year upon its release, make Windows 10 upgrades free to users of Windows 7 and 8. To make matters even more disturbing, there’s also talk of how they’ll offer that upgrade via the Windows Update feature. That’s right folks, Microsoft will now offer something Linux desktops have offered their users for years now. Welcome to the 21st Century, Microsoft.

In their defense, one thing Microsoft is doing right is allowing technical preview releases of Windows 10 to automatically upgrade to Windows 10 proper. Great for Microsoft, deeply troubling for those who might be considering a switch to Linux in the future.

An important thing to remember is this: If you ask most people why they switched to Linux over Windows, their reasons will vary. However a large chunk of those recent converts will come about because Linux is available at no cost. This is especially true of those who didn’t want to pay to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8. So while the cost of an operating system might not be a primary motivator for users such as myself, it can be for others.

It may start off with just an upgrade being made free, the next step could be to open source the entire operating system a few years later. Microsoft might be going for the long play on this one. And if they’re successful, it will absolutely hurt Linux adoption.

The official line from various pro-Windows pundits is that in Windows 10 manufacturers will have a “choice” as to whether or not to provide a secure boot kill switch. On the surface, this sounds benign enough. But it also leaves the door open for Microsoft to “encourage” vendors to lock down the computer. Considering this isn’t beyond the scope of something Microsoft might do, it behooves us all to be careful when considering Windows 10 PCs.

While it’s probable that this choice will only affect a few computers upon the Windows 10 release, companies like Dell would be all too welcoming to abide by Microsoft’s wishes. Dell selling Ubuntu in other countries or simply testing the market here in the US isn’t a clear indication that they’ll support the Linux desktop going forward. They’ve pulled back before and if the deal is sweet enough, might do so again. Don’t believe me? Go to chúng tôi and browse their “vast selection” of Linux computers.

Dell and others will jump at the chance to minimize their support calls after someone installs Linux or any other non-supported operating system. If it’s locked down, chances are the support calls will remain centered around Windows 10 only. Just watch, I bet it will happen. And if it does other vendors will follow along given the opportunity.

Regardless of its licensing, Windows 10 challenges the Linux community on multiple fronts and thus far the community has done little to nothing to really prepare for its release. Unlike previous releases, we’re looking at a two-front attack.

Open Source Pros Pick Their Favorite Projects

CEO of MySQL AB

Marten Mickos, MySQL

“Key to scaling for many leading Web 2.0 companies.”

“Great example of what one person can do in a huge community.”

“Demonstration that transactional storage engines can be developed rapidly for MySQL.”

“Very exciting new project around scaling with vast amounts of data.”

CTO, XenSource

Simon Crosby, Xensource

“Sun’s answer to Linux – a high performance, highly scalable community driven OS that has all the enterprise features of Solaris. Most notable is the way that Sun has built its community and is now recovering from the initial PR hit of Linux. Solaris is a superb OS, including the ZFS file system.”

“Continues to drive innovation in delivery of web based applications – becoming the standard browser for Google, preferred by Google, and with dramatically improved security.”

“The open source hypervisor has spawned a number of products significant to the enterprise datacenter.”

Director of Community and Partner Programs, Open Logic

Stormy Peters, OpenLogic

“I picked my favorites based on the communities,” she says.

“They sometimes get a bad rap but this project does a phenomenal job of coordinating all the different people, interest groups and companies and still sticking to their ideals.”

“The Apache Foundation is a model that most open source projects can strive for. It has a very large, welcoming community that turns out some great projects, just look at how prevalent the Apache web server is!”

“My introduction into open source was through the GNOME community and so they have a special place in my heart. I have to say they were extremely welcoming from day one.”

Stormy tells the story of that day: “I was in Denmark going to my first open source conference ever (GUADEC) and when I walked in the door, the woman at the check-in table yelled – very loudly! – “YOU’RE A GIRL!” It was quite the welcome! She had been wondering ever since I registered. There weren’t very many of us women at the conference – or at any open source conference I’ve been to since – except in Malaysia.” GNOME is a “large, successful, open source group that not only has a great product but has a lot of fun creating it!”

Continued: More open source pros pick their favorites

Co-founder of the

Miguel de Icaza, GNOME, Mono

have seen so far is only the beginning.

doesn’t.”

“It is not a new project, but the growth of this platform for Web development this year continued its quick adoption in the market. It has fascinated countless people who would otherwise hate developing web applications.”

Language Runtime from Microsoft and runs on both .NET and Mono. This is the first project in which Microsoft is actually working with the community and taking patches.

“Microsoft has released software under open source licenses in the past, but this is the first time that they are actually accepting external contributions. Another step in the right direction.”

Founder of the Gallery project, and an engineer at Google.

Bharat Mediratta, Gallery

Choosing his favorite projects is a tough call, Bharat says.

“I tend to use open source as a tool, so really the things that I value the most are the ones that make my life easier. Lately the one that is easing my pain the most is Debian. Its packaging system has been a huge help to me in maintaining my servers.”

“On the desktop I get huge value out of XEmacs and Firefox I spend more time using them than any other tool. In fact it’s safe to say that I do 90 percent of my work with XEmacs and Firefox on a Debian box.”

A Linux kernel hacker, and the Linux kernel maintainer for PCI, USB, driver core, debugfs, kref, kobject, and the sysfs kernel subsystems.

Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux kernel

“Well, obviously I would pick this one, but wait, let me justify it…The Linux kernel is one of the biggest open source projects ever. In the past 2 and 1/2 years, over 3,200 different people have contributed code to the project, and it is running along at over 3 different changes per hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That is an incredible number of people and an incredible rate of development. The operating system kernel that these people have created supports more different hardware types and more different processors than any other operating system ever has in the history of computing, scaling from radio-controlled helicopters, cell phones, desktops, servers, and on up to over 80 percent of the TOP 500 world’s supercomputers. This is a computer engineering achievement that has never been accomplished before.”

“Sure, people love to make fun of GCC, how it is slow, bloated, and doesn’t generate the ‘best’ code at times. But by doing that, you overlook the huge success that this project has had over the years. No longer is every individual processor company required to staff a large number of compiler developers, but instead, GCC makes it much easier to add support for their new hardware with a very limited amount of resources. It, like the Linux kernel, is a computer engineering marvel, the likes of which we have never seen before. And because it is freely available, it has enabled the creation of open source operating systems. If it were not present, there would not be a Linux kernel, or many of the BSD projects either. Go hug your local GCC developer and tell them how much you appreciate them, they deserve it more than anyone.”

“Git is a distributed source code control system that is used by the Linux kernel and by a wide range of other open and closed source products. It is extremely fast, robust, and powerful. I can’t say enough good things about it and cringe whenever I am forced to use something as slow and backwards as CVS or Subversion.”

Continued: More open source pros pick their favorites

Michael Meeks, Novell

“The pre-eminent Linux desktop, fast, crisp, clean, and the birthplace of lots of recent innovation. Of particular note is the commitment to ongoing ABI stability for ISVs, which apparently hasn’t hindered the flow of great new features arriving without disruption.”

“The app many love to hate is slowly becoming more beautiful: faster startup, lower memory use with an increasing interoperable feature set: how is it done? The cleanups continue. If Sun can loosen its grip on it, OpenOffice is set for stardom and will become a fun place to hack.”

“A great development platform for building applications, I was blown away with its beauty writing a tool recently; of course – it lets you migrate your applications away from Windows too, that must be good.”

SourceForge Community Manager

Ross Turk, SourceForge

Ross explains that it’s a little politically incorrect for him to pick favorites: As the community manager at the site that’s a motherload of incubating projects, how can he say which ones he likes best?

“Oh boy. Picking winners is dangerous!” he says. “Any of our previous Project of the Month entries are good choices, though.”

When pressed, however, he does select one to spotlight: ‘Personally, though, I do think that dimdim [a free Web meeting service] is particularly interesting. They’re just getting started and I want to see them do well.”

Leader of the open source research group at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, CA.

Dirk Riehle, SAP

“From a researcher’s perspective, the three most interesting and innovative open source projects (in no particular order):”

“For showing the world how a diverse community can build an excellent database that nobody owns and that benefits everyone.”

“For showing the world how to create jobs and how to make money using the dual-license-based commercial open source business model.”

“For showing the world the future of software by leading the second generation of community open source.”

Types Of Open Source Native Xml Database

Definition of XML Database

The de-facto definition of the XML database is to store XML in a database that contains tables and containers and could be queried, serialized to any different formats also building a model in the XML document and mapping them to the database. The Structure of the XML data model is a tree model with ordered nodes and many enterprise business organizations use XML for storing all its valuable internal data as it fits in memory and provides comfortable. Another Objective of the XML database is they provide an absolute solution for indexing and parsing while inserting. The model must include basic mechanisms like attributes, elements, PCDATA, and the order of the document. As this area is newly evolving many companies utilize them for medical storage purposes, catalogue.

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Web development, programming languages, Software testing & others

Types of XML Database with Examples

Using XML as a database is very much fine if a dataset is small. Data management and other professionals are always encountered with some issues while managing data between XML and relational Structures. To overcome this there are two strategies to help the delivery of data in the XML documents. Using these two approaches in many situations is based on particular applications and the XML document format.

1. Native XML

Native XML(NXDs) follows XML data model for storing XML data and high preference over XML-enabled as they have full control of XML. It specifies the generic structure and uses an XML document. Preference to Native XML is done due to the capabilities such as XML Query language. Native XML database doesn’t store data in the form of the table instead they are done with the containers. Containers hold the responsibility in handling large amounts of XML data also the relationship between them. Another benefit is XML data is not fixed here. One such service provider of the Native XML database is XML4Pharma. They have X-Path expressions a worldwide standard for querying instead of SQL statements.

Example

//LibraryData/ContentData[@ContentKey="011"]//Entry Record[Login date and time<"2024-01-12T01:02:00"] The above statement states that select all the content with Library data where the Content Data element has a primary key with the value of “011” and Entry record element which has login date and time. Therefore, with X-Path expressions only selected field is selected like Entry Record which has been created on January 12th 2023. Note that a complete XML document is not retrieved.

Overview of Native Database work Process:

2. XML-Enabled (XEDB)

This type of latest development XML database is a relational database or object-oriented database which comprises tables with rows and columns. The table format consists of a set of records that have the fields. They handle the XML documents natively which is structured to be characterization as a hybrid. XML-enabled uses schema-specific formats and is mapped to the XML-document during the design process. This database has a mapping part that is provided by a third party. The fundamental storage part of XEDB is dependent on where the data manipulation is done via XPATH or DOM.

Overview of XML-enabled database working:

XML Enabled DB has more Processing time than any other type in which most of the work is done on mapping, Parsing a file. Two mapping schemes are used to map XML to the database schema. They are table-based mapping, Object-relational Mapping. The mapping process for a table database uses canonical mapping or a virtual XML view. And Shredding is a concept converts XML documents into rows.

Example

Let’s first create a Table in SQL Query

(‘Lawrnce’,’Kumar’,6654,7635,’Shtpn’);

The Clause XMLAUTO converts each column into attributes in XML Format which is given in the output.

FOR XML AUTO

Output:

Here by default, the root element is named as ‘Row’.

Next Using XMLPath to illustrate how the elements are nested.

FOR XML PATH

Output:

FOR XML PATH (‘Workerr’)

Output:

To have a well-formed XML document Root element must be named so here we go with:

FOR XML PATH (‘Workerr’), ROOT(‘Company’)

Output:

Conclusion

Coming to the end this article introduces XML to the world and the challenges of dealing with the databases. Therefore, from the above evidence, it is clear that Types of XML databases are not much easy to be used in a certain application. Due to Heterogeneous data storage, they are widely used in sectors like Finance, e-learning, and more Digital libraries. To conclude, the XML database has ordered a collection of rows, and relationships are done by hierarchical and nested format.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to XML Database. Here we also discuss the definition and types of XML databases along with different examples and its code implementation. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

Seldon: Open Source Platform For Machine Learning

Currently only a few percent of machine learning models move from R&D to production, but over 50% of businesses now want to build their own models in house. The highly complex, distributed machine learning application is comprised of existing open-source software (which the Seldon team contributes to), as well as proprietary software that was developed in-house. Thanks to solutions like containers and orchestors, the company is able to run and ship their distributed applications much more quickly and easily to their customer base.

Predicting the Future with Seldon Platform

Seldon’s mission is to help people predict and shape the future with machine learning. They’re firm believers that machine learning is the enabling technology driving AI renaissance, as it helps people solve problems of all shapes and sizes. Seldon’s CEO Alex Housley has been building technology start-ups since 2003.

To shape and validate Seldon’s roadmap, they’ve been listening to their community of data scientists and customers about their priorities and the challenges that organisations face. One of their biggest decisions was whether to focus on some of the vertical use cases or continue to build a foundational technology that operates on a generalised and horizontal basis. Most machine learning startups focus on serving a specific use case and it’s a validated playbook that investors understand and buy into. According to UK AI market research published by David Kelnar from MMC Ventures, 84% of startups focus on AI for a function or sector. Companies can build a defensible moat by combining deep domain expertise and the data network effect that improves the service itself as more data is fed into it — in terms of accuracy and performance of the model.

Believe in the Company, Hold the Award

In 2024, Seldon was part of the world’s #1 fintech accelerator, Barclays Techstars. This experience helped the company to gain vast amounts of product feedback from a broad range of stakeholders and sign customers in the banking and financial services space. It also helped to gain deeper understanding of the machine learning use cases that large enterprises are prioritising and challenges they face when embarking on an AI project.

It quickly became clear to the Seldon team that they had to build a new enterprise product. Solving deployment means creating an entirely new category in machine learning that sits on the intersection of data science and ops. Seldon Deploy is a new machine learning deployment platform that they have been creating based on hundreds of discussions with clients, prospects and mentors, and feedback from the community. It provides a stunning new UI that helps data science teams manage deployment workflows, providing new capabilities around infrastructure, collaboration and compliance.

The Visionary Leader

Alex is a serial entrepreneur on a mission to establish the new open standard for predictive AI, to make the world a more personalised, productive and fun place. He is the co-creator of the Genome Laser, which sequenced the inventors of the laser and high-speed genome sequencing and blasted their DNA into space with an enormous laser.

Managing Tough Times

When the company released their open-source machine learning platform in 2024, machine learning was a niche topic in the business world. But leveraging what is broadly described as AI is now at the top of the strategic agenda for organisations of all sizes across industries.

Happy Clients of Seldon

AI is about using machines to solve new problems. It’s about automating and augmenting our decision making. It’s about making the world a better place. Embracing AI is one of the biggest opportunities for the UK economy at this time.

Machine learning is everywhere in our lives. It recommends products online, removes spam from your inbox, and decides which of your friends’ status updates you should read.

Computers have already acquired superhuman abilities across hundreds of new and much focused domains.

But machine learning can also help them tackle some of the world’s biggest problems like

Drug discovery and image diagnostics in healthcare.

Predicting crop yields in agriculture.

Increasing power efficiency – from data centres to the national grid and soon smart grids.

Here are a few words from some of the happy customers of Seldon.

“You need platforms like Seldon plus their ability to develop sophisticated algorithms to make better predictions. It’s reassuring having Seldon on our side during our personalisation journey to accelerate our projects and make better decisions.” Michael Harte, Barclays Group Head of Innovation

“I’ve found Seldon to be organised, reliable, patient & innovative. During our first workshops, they helped me understand how machine learning can solve my business problems & improve my services. They clearly understand what it takes to deliver a successful machine learning project” Alexander Pluke CEO The Plastic Economy

Hire Open Source Developers — Or Partner With Them?

Everywhere we turn these days, we see evidence of open source developers trading their time and hard work for little more than the hope of benefiting the ever-growing open source community.

While there are many companies world-wide enjoying the benefits of a number of Linux and open source products, there are instances where creating sustainable employment for these talented individuals is problematic at best.

Then I came across the The Development Cloud. This is a company that has found it mutually beneficial to share fifty percent of its profit – which is derived from closed source software – to reward developers of associated open source software projects. (See details here.) I think this is fantastic.

While some FOSS purists will undoubtedly squirm at the idea of closed source software funding open source efforts, the fact remains that this funding rewards the hard work of individuals creating open source software. So despite any perceived controversy, I see this as a positive rather than a negative outcome.

Hired vs partnership?

In a perfect world, I would love to see open source developers working together in orchestrated harmony to make modern open source software available to all who wish to use it. And to a large extent, some variation of this has in fact happened, in part due to sponsorships and grants, in addition to those simply volunteering their time.

In other situations, companies that utilize specific open source software have opted to hire open source developers themselves in order to be sure that their own aims remain intact during the growth of their own businesses.

But what about new businesses that cannot afford to support development teams out of the box? Sure, they can try to create an ecosystem that provides a compelling reason to volunteer. Yet in the end, this still leaves the company to profit while the those who worked hard volunteering are left wondering if their work is really being recognized.

Free enterprise at its best. Not only does this structure allow volunteers to potentially earn while they learn, it ensures that they’ll not bankrupt the company during the development process of the given software. In short, nothing is spent on wages before the product goes to market.

A flat rate income now, or the opportunity to share something substantial later. With the exception of open source software offered with a dual license in place, most of the time the software is just given away. Yet there are instances where the software requires support, which translates into revenue. This means if the software is used in an enterprise environment, there is revenue available for the developer who wishes to support their product.

Multiple projects being supported translates into plenty of work. As someone who does a lot of contract work himself, I see a real benefit to not being tied to one single company. It allows the person contracting their services to provide support for other projects as described above with other non-competing companies.

Software as a service – the missing ingredient

Many open source applications come into existence out of need as seen by those who develop the software in question. Often this translates into software supported by individuals rather than by groups of developers working toward a common goal. To that end, these projects will likely remain hobby-based projects, not really suitable for any kind of support business. Not saying this would be impossible, it just seems unlikely.

Next Page: Developers as Partners

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