(Disclaimer - I used to work for GitLab and now work for Meltano which is open core).

Your footnote is misstating the relationship GitLab the company has with GitLab the open source product. https://about.gitlab.com/company/stewardship/ is a good resource to see the promises and tradeoffs GitLab has made in building an open core business.

I think your analysis too would benefit from including some of GitLab's philosophy around their buyer-based Open Core model. The TL;DR is that features that are primarily beneficial for ICs are open sourced while managers and above typically go in the source available code (though they're very willing to move that).

For me, with open source there's also an argument around expanding the pool of people around the world (not just US-based) who have access to higher quality tooling. We've heard from people in many different countries that aren't able to pay US prices that they're deeply appreciative of open source tools. It enables them to join a larger community and deploy best practices, but on a budget.

Side note - you might find https://opencoreventures.com/ interesting. There are lots of docs in there too about the Open Core business model.

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Thanks for the clarification, Taylor. I removed the reference to GitLab as a result.

I think the world-wide access argument is a really strong one that I've never fully considered. However, I still think that can still be accomplished by aligning open source incentives closely with the business model. It doesn't necessarily require one to build out the entire business model as open core.

Rather than just offering a product for free in these territories, it sounds like there's a great opportunity for businesses to better align pricing models with the needs and resources in these countries. At the end of the day, the responsibility of a business is to make money. Being able to subsidize external markets can't last forever.

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> It doesn't necessarily require one to build out the entire business model as open core.

Quite true. I still think there's an argument that it's just plain easier for a company to offer an open source option of the product rather than try to make a pricing model work for multiple regions. The ROI likely isn't there on the low end and the free, host it yourself version likely is good enough for most folks without the cost to the company.

Either way though - being thoughtful about the *why*, like you say, is important. Thanks for article! :)

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