Open Source, Positioning, and Execution

In the past month, I’ve read no fewer than 8 articles and blog posts trying to thread a story around what is apparently the “big” question these days: how can software companies make money in an open source world? Well, we are, quite well thank-you-very-much. Here’s how and why. Our primary product is PDFTextStream. It came on to the market a year ago, entering a market (Java libraries that can extract content from PDF documents) that was dominated by open source (or dual-licensed) offerings that are generally well-liked by the broader community. OK, so why are we still here, thriving and growing? I’m not saying that this formula we’ve worked out is simple, or that it can be easily replicated with a different product in a different market. However, at least from where I’m sitting, “living in an open source world” is pretty pleasant.