The common model for open source companies is to give away the software, and provide service, support, proprietary add-ons or some combination of these. Service can take many forms, from code customization to application hosting to training/mentoring to consulting. To really make this model work, however, the company has to establish itself as the definitive source for these services. If a brand is not established early, a competitor could step in to either fork the code or simply offer the same services.
This was first published in May 2006