Many companies going to the opensource route these days. Jetbrains is one example of a company that opensourced their well reknown IntelliJ IDEA after been commercializing it. Some company has started doing opensource right from the beginning and able to compete with the big boys like MySQL, RedHat, and Ext-JS. Some did not succeed at all.
So, is opensourcing your product found effective? Especially from marketing side? Will you be able to attract more customers this way? Or do you have to work harder to get their money because customers prefer freebies or customer will look down on your product because it is free? Has anyone got any experience on this that can be shared? What's your take on this?
In general, I'd say: No, it's not a good strategy.
In most cases, especially for desktop applications, the disadvantage of being unable to charge a sustainable price for your product outweighs the advantages.
There are some exceptions, however:
Note also that "Closed Source vs. Open Source" is a false dilemma : You can also use freeware (or freemium) if redistribution matters to your prospects. You could also ship with source code included but without a license for redistribution if adaptability matters to your prospects.
Hope this helps.
It depends on your business model:
Opensource may empower early-adoption and collaboration but you have to understand clearly how are you going to bill your customer.
I think a key issue is to undersand what is your customer really willing to pay for and how the "freebie" comes in. Usually support or SAAS schemes come handy: customer pays for supported software or access to already set software.
For instance, Redhat provides a supported edition (aka payed) base on the community project Fedora.
MYSQL to some extend uses a similar model. Regarding JetBrains it seems that there are two products: the community one and the 'ultimate' which seems to be enhanced.
Is opensourcing your product found effective? Depends on your objectives, if you are looking for collaboration in building a product, maybe yes. If you are going to charge for the exact same product, maybe no.
Opensource software may or not be a boost to marketing, I had mild experiences because some customers are biased against it (fortunately those are the less).
Sometimes some of the developer's community (after some years) thinks different from the creators and then they create a new opensource product based on the preceeding. Interesting examples are: SugarCRM, Compiere ERP.
If it is a platform which is going to need customization by a developer it makes sense. It would not be appropriate for customer base that is not likely to hire a developer (What are they going to do with the code?). Otherwise, you're going to need a reseller who would adapt your code.
I think an application that has an API offers a lot of what would be needed to customize the application.