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Mr. LIMS Speaks: Proprietary LIMS can thrive by embracing Commercial Open Source

By Mr. LiMS | March 8, 2022

You know the saying: “Make Love, not War”.  This is so true in the case of proprietary software vs. open source software.  There is really nothing to fight about.  Open Source thrives by having a large user base that uses the software.  The more people that use the Open Source Software, the better the quality is and the more opportunities there are for developers to make money from customizations and support.

Proprietary software gains by pairing their software up with complimentary Open Source Software that adds value for their clients.  For instance, a LIMS that wants to provide ERP functionality to their clients could add Odoo.  If they need a learning management system, they can add Moodle.  If they want a great BI tool, they can add Pentaho.  If they want an ELN, they can add ELab-FTW.  If they want an SDMS, they can add Alfresco.  The list literally can go on and on.

You will find some of the most successful software companies marrying proprietary and open source together to create a real powerhouse of value for the users.  Redhat software is the classic case for this.  I want to extend an invitation to all of my proprietary LIMS software peers to embrace Open Source and to extend the value of their offerings to their clients by adding Free, Open Source Software to their complete solution line-up.  You don’t have to make your proprietary software open source, just add open source apps to your offering as a value add for your clients.  You can have your cake and eat it to.  You can invest money into FOSS projects by paying FOSS developers to customize the apps for the benefit of your clients.  It is much better than doing everything from scratch.

There is no need or value in being a purist about Open Source vs. Proprietary Software.  That battle has been won, lost and amounted to a draw and amounts to a waste of valuable time.  Leave the childish ideology to the children.

To learn more about all of the different business models that can be used to monetize open source, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_models_for_open-source_software