Why our products are not open source
Every once a while we receive inquiry asking about our products, is source code for it available as open source. It is not, and here is why.
If you look at open-source projects, you can see that they almost never compose the core business of their creators. If it is created by individual developers, it might be to showcase their skills for potential employers, or hobby project. Very often companies sponsor or moreover are main contributors to the project. In these cases it is never the core business of that company, instead, that company is the main user of that project. Making the project open source brings multiple benefits for such a company:
- Developers and users around the world contribute to the project by reporting bugs and sending pull requests with fixes for such bugs or with the implementation of new features. This lowers the cost of development and support of the project.
- Using open-source project makes it easier for third parties to use services provided by the company as its core business. So at the end cost of open source development is transferred to those end customers of core business services and products anyway.
Here are some examples:
- Microsoft is a strong supporter and now the main contributor to .NET OPC UA SDK (https://github.com/OPCFoundation/UA-.NETStandard). Why? Because it makes it easy for customers who are used to use Microsoft stack to collect industrial control data and push it to Microsoft Azure, which is its core business.
- Amazon is the main contributor to the SDK for connecting to AWS IoT from a device using embedded C (https://github.com/aws/aws-iot-device-sdk-embedded-C ). A significant portion of this project is MQTT client functionality, so it can be used as a generic MQTT client library too. Although the development of such MQTT client libraries is not what Amazon’s business is, they are the main contributors and made is open source, to pave the way for customers to use core business – AWS IoT platform.
- InfluxData made InfluxDb (https://github.com/influxdata/influxdb) open-source because their core business is providing services hosting InfluxDb in the cloud, so they are main users of this project and benefit from making it open source.
- The same with Confluent and other service providers who are the main contributors and users of Apache Kafka (https://github.com/apache/kafka).
One-Way Automation’s core business is the development of OPC UA software for customers, including ogamma Visual Logger for OPC. We are not users of our products and they are not just hobby projects. For that reason, our products are not open source. We need financial support in the form of revenue from selling licenses in order to continue the development and support of those products.