Open Source – (n) Noun – 1) A hypothetical business model that has made money exactly once (see RedHat) and is often bandied about as the next new thing. Also, known as the last ditch effort to save a failing software company. This is not to be confused with “Freemium”(see Freemium), another business model that shares the same strange characteristic of making money by giving away value, but has succeeded at least a few more times.
2) Software freely distributed, developed and maintained by volunteers working on an “open source project”. This is kinda like the Woodstock version of software. Often seen together or described as “Crowdsourcing”, the theory is that more people can build better software. This is often proven true, and the benefits are great. However, as it has often been predicted, Open Source is NOT the business model of most software companies, at least those that are profitable – see #1 above.
3) The industries attempt to wrest control from Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. It has kinda worked, but SaaS (see SaaS) has arguably had a much larger impact.
Example – “We are going to open-source this project/product/company so we can scale. We are going to monitize (see monitize) it by delivering an enterprise supported version”
See also – RedHat, Hadoop, Mozilla, Docker, and thousands of other projects.