Please explain to me , how does software like SMPlayer or VLC or UMPlayer do revenue (all open source)


as software developer, i can't understand how does software's like SMPlayer or VLC or UMPlayer
do there revenue , they all open-source they all downloaded Millions of times they all
professional software not amateur at all . that i know as software developer takes allot of time and effort to build , but hell how they make a leaving out of it ?

Revenue Open Source

asked Jul 22 '12 at 21:40
238 points
  • benevolent donations – Frenchie 9 years ago
  • They sabotage their career and their families while spending time on free software, most often they also change their careers very often. But some of these people are serious video software developers, and they bring you the today news, entertainment etc. Also, video is huge area of development, I do free players myself. For example, to develop a codec takes 10 years for 10 biggest companies. So this is how some of this can be really afforded. – Andrew Smith 9 years ago
  • which player do you do ? – Meir 9 years ago
  • JWPlayer - it's open source, done in Flash Builder, I do have some fork of it, as well plugins for various use, however this one is web-based, for the desktop I use Windows DirectShow as well Media Foundation from Microsoft and not opensource codecs like ffmpeg. These are multiplatform players, this is very specific area and specific set of codecs which are not professional and doesnt handle professional formats and workflows as well, and for the consumer media like DVD, Blu-Ray, 3D supports only limited number of features except for the x264. – Andrew Smith 9 years ago
  • Andrew , in your example i can see how you can make revenue out of the player ( which is very nice ! ) and i hope you are selling licenses and support – Meir 9 years ago

2 Answers


Are you assuming that VLC, SMPlayer were created with making profit in mind?
Because that may not be the case.

In case of VLC Wikipedia writes:
"The VideoLan project was originally started as an academic project in 1996 (....) it is now developed by contributors worldwide and is coordinated by the VideoLAN non-profit organization."
(see: )

The videoLAN organisation works with volunteer developers and asks for donations for server costs and for organizing events. Some of the VLC developers have set up companies offering services to mone4
ize their experience gained in the project.
(see: )

It seems that profit can be 'bolted on' afterwards by adding services to the product or process for businesses that uses open source software. Most examples are in B2B market.

Business market examples:

  1. Red Hat is the example of a company making profit. It adds services to an open source product they assembled.
  2. Drupal's developer raised a company called Aquia that provides services to a limited part of the open source product. This a) gives clients quality assurance and a managable scope of the product and b) gives the open source community its space to initiate and contribute to development.
  3. You can develop closed source software and organize a buy-out to open source it. Examples in this range are Blender and maybe also StarOffice.

Governement market example:

  1. You can use the arguments for open source to win government/EU tenders. This does not necessarely mean that the end product will be open sourced since there are also arguements that governents should not compete with or damage markets. Either way, you will have the advantage of the contacts, the source, the product, the services and the market. Example is DocWorks.
Consumer market example:

  1. You can develop for mobile markets. price tag can be less than one dollar so easy to buy (not much too loose) for consumer. profit per product will be determined by number of sales (huge market size) and by time it takes the competition to copy the product and rebrand/remarket it or for you to stay ahead and create community or client base around your product which makes it difficult to compete by simply copying. Examples (not open source by my knowledge): Wordfeud.
answered Nov 1 '12 at 19:35
31 points


Simple answer is they aren't. The work on these projects was donated freely by the programmers. This is not their full time job but a side project

That's not to say that you can't make money from open source projects. Red hat for example makes a huge amount selling support for their free software.

answered Jul 22 '12 at 22:23
Tom Squires
1,047 points

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Revenue Open Source