SourceForge launches commercial 'marketplace' for open source software

Upon posting a loss for its most recent financial quarter, open source foundry SourceForge has launched an auction-based service that charges commissions to developers. Coincidentally or not, SourceForge got hacked this week.

After reporting a fiscal first-quarter operating loss of $1.1 million at the end of November, software foundry SourceForge this week instituted a new revenue stream by rolling out a commercial marketplace for sales, service and support of open source software.

Open source developers won't have to pay for listing their services. But SourceForge will charge them for a percentage of the final price for any sales obtained through the auction-based SourceForge.net Marketplace.

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"We will be taking a commision of 7.7 to 12.5 percent. The higher the final price, the lower the commission, and the lower the final price, the higher the commission," said Mike Rudolph, vice president of SourceForge, in an interview today with BetaNews.

Although the launch of a commercial auction by an open source foundry might seem a bit ironic to some, open source development communities don't appear at all appalled by the move, on the whole -- not vocally, at least.

Articles about the marketplace that ran in Linux and open source publications earlier this week were greeted by few if any reader comments, in either direction. A check by BetaNews of online community forums yielded similar results.

In a trend that keeps gaining momentum, open source and Linux development firms ranging from giants like Novell to smaller concerns are charging open source software customers for software and services in order to succeed on the business side.

While business models vary considerably, however, many open source developers continue to offer some free software, anyway, charging only for technical support and/or value-added -- or "proprietary" -- software features.

To cite just one example, business intelligence (BI) vendor JasperSoft started selling "Professional" editions of its software just over a year ago, after previously issuing open source code only.

In a move that may or may not be related to its new marketplace, though, SourceForge's Web site got hacked this week.

"We think it was a coincidence," Rudolph told BetaNews today. "But the important thing is that we took action immediately, and that our platform is stable. There was no harm done."

SourceForge has identified the two people responsible, according to the SourceForge VP.

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