'Free' is always problematic marketing

“The (broken) economics of OSS – Matt Klein – Medium”

“If our industry was better at analyzing true TCO, I fully believe that making money off of OSS would be substantially easier.”

The discussion around OSS economics mirrors the discussion in the Open Education community, touching upon many of the same points:

  • ‘Free’ has strong pricing connotations no matter how often you repeat ‘free as in freedom, not free as in free beer’.
  • Institutions have a very poor idea of costs (let alone tocal cost of ownership).
  • Many of the costs of a project are externalised (i.e. carried by unappreciated volunteers) but everybody who has money acts as if those costs don’t exist.
  • Which licenses are truly open and which are just ‘open-washing’ for private enterprise?

Both OSS and OER (Open Education Resources) are becoming foundation resources in our economies and institutions. They are what other things are built on.

But we still haven’t figured out ways to make that foundation sustainable.

Baldur's Notes @baldur