At OS4Ed, we have re-released our SIS and rechristened it as openSIS to mark the beginning of our departure from the Centre and Focus code base. We have also discarded some of the Centre/Focus modules and rewritten them as new. My question is about licensing and fees. Our goal is to become an open source provider that provides quality open source alternatives to traditional commercial applications, which can be very expensive. We obviously cannot continue to just pour our personal money into development and hope to sustain the development, so we are attempting to create an affordable business model that will allow us to collect fees to sustain coordinated and regular development that many schools cannot use. So our approach is typical open source: offering custom services, help desk support, data conversion, add-on modules, etc.
My question centers around licensing for what we call proprietary add-ons and help desk. The add-ons are proprietary in the sense that you cannot distribute them, but you get all of the source code when you purchase them. We have not had a great deal of luck in selling themodules for a one time cash fee, because it seems that even $2,500 is out of reach for small schools and districts. I am considering eliminating the one time fee in favor of a repeating annual fee that would be far lower.
Can anyone give me an opinion on what an affordable year in year out fees for modules and help desk support would be? Also, opinions on whether an affordbale fee based model will fly and be sustainable are appreciated as well. Thanks!
Founder, Open Solutions for Education