Your business has probably purchased a lot of proprietary software the same way it purchases any other goods – you buy product A and install it on machine B. There was something like a warranty period, where you may receive a certain level of support or a replacement for serious issues, but otherwise, it was just a good that was purchased. If it doesn’t meet your needs, you go out and buy something else – even if it is the same product just a version or two later.
But with open source, there’s a slightly different approach. There has to be. Unlike proprietary software, where the software is the product, with open source software, everything is already out there and available. And not just the end package; the sourcecode itself is freely available to your engineering department.
According to Gartner, 95% of companies are using open source software, so it is entirely reasonable to ask what are we purchasing?
What open source companies (like Red Hat) offer you isn’t a product; it’s an ecosystem of improvement and support.
A License Isn’t a Subscription
One thing to clarify – a software license is not the same thing as a software subscription.