How to make money from Open Source
As open source getting popular day by day, many have questions like How to make money from Open Source? Lot more products are getting introduced and don't know who is making money. Certainly open source means, give the product and source for free then how to make money? Yes sell the product for free but get paid for its services.
Beta Testing / Code Contribution: If you are the owner of the product then you could get beta testing and code contributions for free or for some minimal pay. If you are a contributor, Pick the right product and work for them. You may get paid.
Donation: Most open source products will have a link for donation. This is starting point. Few make really good money on this. They even list the people names who have donated. They will also send some receipt to get tax exemptions.
Sponsor: Most of the open source products do have some sponsors. They would have mentioned the list of sponsors on the right side of the page. If you get some sponsor then it would help you to grow faster. They would invest in your product.
Enterprise Edition: Most of the open source products has dual licensing support, open source edition and Professional or Enterprise edition. If you are able to sell Enterprise edition then this would bring more money and this will make your organization to grow. Enterprise edition do have 24/7 support services.
Training and Consulting: Few do training and consulting by themselves. Take Lucid Imagination, they do consulting on search engine products Lucene and Solr. Sliverstripe Open Source CMS provides loads of other services like hosting, integration etc. Most of the products cannot be used as it is. They require some extra development or modification to suit your needs. Google will throw huge list of results for Drupal and Joomla consulting firms. You may not be the owner of the product but you could provide training and consulting.
Sell Add-ons: Give the base product for free and sell add-on modules. Check out Snowcovered, they sell DotNetNuke add-ons. Add-on module will bring good money.
At last its not easy to make money from Open Source. You require clear focus about the product. Don't jump in just to make money there are other stuffs available.