"We embraced and have used open source products since our beginnings. Not from pricing concerns, but because it allowed us to have more freedom and flexibility in our applications. The ability to modify software to your needs makes it very attractive. We've also tried to give back to the [open source] community in return. We've sponsored several organizations and groups as well as released about twenty percent of our software titles as open source or freeware over the past 5 years." Scott said.
As of January 2006, BanPro NET hopes to increase brand awareness and user-base volume by freely distributing their software products and generate revenue through selling title support and customization related services. BanPro NET also provides contracted software solutions to clients and plans to continue doing so.
The first addition to their open source catalog will be a revised version of the BanPro NET CMS (a content management system created in PHP/MySQL), which BanPro NET clients have been using (under commercial licensed form) for several years. The new version features a Blog publishing platform module for users who want to add a personal or business Blog to their site and is built around the Smarty : Template Engine presentation framework.
BanPro NET also plans to revise and release versions of some older titles which were initially released for commercial sale in the coming months as open source too, as well as continuing development on new titles.
When asked about his reasons for the shift to complete open source development at BanPro NET, Scott Bannon replied, "It's a mixture of philosophical leanings and my view of BanPro NET for the future. I've never been fully comfortable with selling software on a licensed basis. I don't condemn that business model or any company that follows it at all; it's just never been a great fit for my business. The open source model, where you move your revenue stream from licensing to support and other related services is more attractive to me."
Offering open source products has also been an attractive move for companies such as IBM and Sun Microsystems, however there's much debate over whether this business model is sustainable in the long-term for software developers. Scott displays no sign of concern though.
"My decision ultimately came down to two questions. Why do we develop software? The truth is, it's to provide solutions where they're needed. I never begin a project wondering if people will pay for it, I start out trying to fill a need. So, once the software is completed the second question is did we develop the title only for those who can afford the license or did we honestly develop the title to fill a need? By releasing the title as open source it allows everyone with the need, access to the solution. It also allows for financial reward to the developer because those with the means will pay for additional support and customizations while at the same time saving money on licenses and renewals. It's win-win for everyone."
More information is available at http://www.banpro.net/
About BanPro NET:
BanPro NET first began providing products and web services in 2000, "To provide high quality products and services. To treat each customer as a good friend. To be an asset to our community. This is the BanPro NET philosophy."
Staying true to that philosophy, BanPro NET has been rewarded with a steady growth of clients and respect for the reputation it's acquired as a leader in providing quality products, services and support.