@fluca: despite that as for my age I will be of the "previous" generation, it's almost true. You can't see their professors.But I think also that you set limits to the Italian business model that is a distorted view of any possible politically correct business model. I am trying to keep the discussion open :) to a wide point of view. Italian developers in Italian big companies up to the last ten years are exposed to two main scenarios: to be incorporated in external big companies or see their company to die. It is not a catastrofic view, it is a reality that don't need more examples than what you read on the papers.
The general concept I followed when I started was when I was living mostly in Italy. Where is the business of opensource? And you can be sure that the business should exist. For the same concept of how opensource is growing. Following a timeline the opensource started worldwide in a period around the middle '80s on top of a diffuse undergrond hacking of end user software. Time ago, before the laws was moved protecting the source and software patents.
This was the time of C64, Amiga, Atari and so on.
World has gonr ahead and the open source in terms of knowledge sharing started his diffusion. In Italy - this is the reason that today the Italian position is already quite uninfluent - what remains today in the common concept can be sintesyzed in two points:
Open source = free (and it is totally different)
Free = low quality
This is the actual most diffuse mentality.
What I am experiencing during last years is that it is possible the coexistence of a shared knowledge together. And I amd living with this business model.
I think that this is a good startup point.
A final note, where we can exclude software. As photographer I work and create photography for commitment when possible. Then I have some images sold by international agencies. If you have some minutes go to www.alamy.com and search the keyword "enrico miglino". You find about 100 images of mine. Alamy represent my images worldwide. One of these images was sold by Alamy for 550$. A good price for a single photography.
But... but as - all the international agecencies - they take about 60% of the revenues. This means that I earn around 240$ from this shoot.
How less I had earned putting these images downloadable for free with the clause that the users will pay .. 1$ (? not more than 5) for every commercial usage? I think not less than with those guys of Alami.
Another example: a real test that I have done with mobile market. Think to a couple of months ago: N950 was already in distribution in very few units to the developers only and Harmattan was already a curious term, nothing of certain.
I have published Qt-Complex 1.1.0 for Harmattan: it is not a product, a game, a utility, you can download a package on ovi store of a development framework - so a very reduced audience - that is the demo of the project itself that can be downloadable as open source with LGPL 3.0 license at http://projects.developer.nokia.com/Qt-Complex
The limit is that you can use it for open source and non-commercial applicaitons. If you want use it for commercial applications, you should but the commercial license of the framework. The package - also sold on ovi store - has a cost of 5Euro. Then you can use the license for any commercial project.
Well, when there was a number of N950 on the market between 1000 and 2000 (not sellable, only for development) Qt-Complex was downloaded in 300 units from all the countries I saw the N950 was distributed
Estimated average of 15-30% of the developers was at least trying to see what it was.
Then in the last 1,5 months I have sold 4 units of the commercial license.
Well. This is a result, demonstrating at least that if I see something useful, and as "collegue" I see that someother has solved a probelm for me, I am happy to share some of my earning with him. And sure that the network of contents is growing.
About this particular experiement, I will update more data in the next future, because N9 is distributing and I am releasign the Qt Complex 2.0 in few weeks, including a lot of useful things.
This was a rare occasion to do a similar test worldwide with the support of a company like Nokia so I think that this is a good indicator.
Further I will update this thread with other examples, recent and interesting of a business path strictly related to this experience.
Enrico Miglino (aka Alicemirror)
Islas Baleares, Ibiza (Spain)