Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

The Only Guy Making Money Off Free Software

There are now scores of venture-backed startups pushing open-source software. Some, like Cloudera, MongoDB and Docker, claim to be worth $1 billion or more. Each has a slightly different spin on the same question: How do you make money off free code?

They’ve got a range of different answers, like selling tools on top of an “open core” of free code. But the proof of profits has yet to come. There’s only one firm that’s proven it can consistently make money off open-source software, and that’s Red Hat, the North Carolina firm best known for selling a business-class version of the free Linux operating system. Linux has become the standard for web servers, so chances are that if you’ve done anything on the internet in the past decade, the data was flowing from a Linux machine.

What Is The Information?

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting, stories, and exclusives you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Go deep into areas like crypto and VC diversity—or get real-time analysis of breaking news—via conference calls with our reporters and other experts.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, subscribers get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles

Media Enterprise Startups Amazon Google Facebook Apple Uber/Lyft

Move Over, Amazon. Smaller Tech Stocks Surge

By Alfred Lee and Mike Sullivan

Enterprise Google Apple

The Four Companies That Should Be on Cisco’s Shopping List

By Kevin McLaughlin and Sarah Kuranda

Venture Capital

Lessons From Silicon Valley’s Latest Female VC Partners

By Serena Saitto

Enterprise Cloud

After IBM-Red Hat, Which Open-Source Companies Are Next?

By Kevin McLaughlin

“People seem to take the free stuff and work around the paid stuff. You have to recognize that the early adopters are the people who really want free. They’re working hard to work around you."