This is pretty fabulous take from team ERPNext.
They suggest that instead of charging for "hosting" the open-source software, charge for "services" around it.
If you are a company that publishes open source tools, the question to ask yourself is, do you want to make money from your product (rent) or from services around it. Rent is exactly how proprietary products make money.
You can’t compete with your own free offering. There are billions of dollars flowing into proprietary platforms that should be the target.
This last part is pretty fabulous. Don't "compete with your own free offering". Your open source software replaces a proprietary software. Charge for services around "integration" and "installation". Places where companies are already spending huge money - be a replacement for that.
The trouble happens when someone else just wraps our free open source software as a paid service. Like AWS did with ElasticSearch. It feels "unfair". But the way they reframe it is amazing.
But as we became more mature, we started seeing how open source is truly different. We ourselves were users of many open source tools like CentOS, MariaDB, Python to name a few but were neither contributors nor did we buy any services from these companies.
Fabulous essay! Taught me a lot about how to think about going open-source.