The Open Source Geospatial Foundation is a non profit organization and does not provide commercial services.
Commercial use of OSGeo Software
There are excellent preconditions to use Free and Open Source Software packages in Business contexts. To make most effective use of software (regardless of licensing style) it can be helpful to hire commercial service providers. They can deliver solutions, support and service in time and through regular contracts. In larger environments and complex infrastructures it is normal to hire specialists to look after the network infrastructure, perform database tuning, customize software or consult on the architecture. This applies to both proprietary and Free and Open Source Software.
OSGeo does not provide these services herself but has set up a Service Provider Directory to make this information available to businesses and organizations in need of professional services and with a budget to afford them.
FOSS Business Models
FOSS Business Models models are identical to those of any other IT enterprise. The only elemnt which is missing is selling license usage rights through the proprietary licensing model. Professional Support and services provided by companies around the world comprise:
- Training, Workshops, Know-how dissemination
- Installation, Maintenance
- Customization of interfaces and features
- Implementation of new features
- Support and Hotline at all availablility levels
- Research and Development
- add your source of income
Depending on the focus of the enterprise the business model can combine any of the above types.
Business Ready Software
Ready-to-use software is sometimes called COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) software. There are several packages within OSGeo and the Free and Open Source community at large that can be used right off the shelf (but does not ship in shrink-wrap packages). Others like libraries or SOA infrastructure components need to be installed and configured individually, sometimes in large and highly complex or productive environments. Some such structures need to be maintained on a daily basis, for example if security requirements (Confidentiality, Availability, Integrity) are exceptionally high. Free and Open Source Geospatial software is used in every context and is just as diverse as are the needs and corresponding services.
Graduated OSGeo Software has gone through the Incubation Process and thus proven to follow the guidelines that have been set up to ensure several soft factors that a software project cannot always provide out of itself. These include legally clean code and use of external libraries, a functional community and a truely open governance and decision structure. Additionally several formal requirements are set up like the use of a code repository, bug tracking environment and support mechanism, most often through mailing lists.