As a software development company, often participating in tenders, we’ve come across situations where the requirements were to deliver a software application licensed for a fixed number of users. Most of the times, the Beneficiary expects a proprietary software, developed from scratch, and a license key (or certificate for the picky ones) that will somehow entitle them and them only to use the delivered software.
In actuality, most tender holders don’t understand the concept of “free software”, and this leads them to make a false assumption. In a way it is understandable, since on a daily basis “free” means no money. And an old saying “No money, no service”
The software market is however a bit different to most markets. A while back, the software industry came up with the concept of “free software”, trying to kick some action into the market. And the principle goes like this : Free software means you are entitled to distribute it, rebrand it, modify it, sell copies of it for whatever fee you feel it’s right for you, under one condition : you pass the same right to your client. This means, once your client has a copy of it, they can do whatever they feel like with it – sell it, modify it, rebrand it.
It took me a while to understand the concept, but at the end of the day it really makes sense. Free software opens the market to endless possibilities, breaking the monopoly installed by big software houses who keep their code well contained, and have ridiculous licensing polices.