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There is much media coverage and water-cooler talk about open source software and professional open source companies but these companies and their business models are so new that most people do not have direct personal experience of them and consequently many people have numerous misconceptions about how they work. In almost all cases I think people underestimate not only the potential of the professional open source business model but also how much it differs from the proprietary/commercial software business model and how much it affects the roles and functions within the organization.

Pentaho was founded in 2004 to provide Business Intelligence (BI) under a professional open source business model. After spending the last few years immersed in professional open source I am sharing my thoughts about the workings of this business model. 
There are numerous business models around professional open source software (POSS). The model described here applies to those companies that operate with a model where the company is the main source code contributor. This model is used by companies such as Pentaho, MySQL, Alfresco, JBoss, Digium, Zimbra etc.

These pages describe the Beekeeper Model that I created to help explain this variant of the Professional Open Source Software business model. They are based on the short version of The Beekeeper. Both the short and long versions can be downloaded below.

You are welcome to comment on each page.


Either watch the Recorded Presentation (25 minutes, requires Flash)

or browse these pages:

  1. Why Professional Open Source Software
  2. The Principles of Open Source
  3. The Beekeeper Model
  4. The General Model
  5. The Proprietary Model
  6. The Open Source Model
  7. The Professional Open Source Model
  8. Summary

More Information



The Beekeeper Part 1 (500k, 12 pages)

Download PDF

The Beekeeper Part 2 (1.5mb 44 pages)

Download PDF

Recorded Presentation (25 minutes, requires Flash)

Watch It


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This information is published under the Free Art License