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One question that people who don’t know how open-source businesses work is: “How do you make money from open-source software?” has a new answer to that question: sell services and support to customers using an eBay like market., with millions of monthly visitors, is already one of the world’s largest Web sites for open-source development and distribution. What it didn’t have, though, was any way for its uses to cash in on their open-source projects. On Dec. 6, that changed forever. Today, SourceForge launched an online marketplace for technology professionals to buy and sell service and support for open-source software. Marketplace launches with more than 600 service listings. Some major projects offering service and support include: OpenBravo, JasperSoft, Zenoss, Compiere, Firebird, Nagios and Spring Framework. The platform, which is tightly integrated into the Web site, has been heavily tested in closed and open beta cycles since May.

“The demand for support around open source software continues to grow,” said Mike Rudolph, vice president and general manager of and a former senior eBay executive. “We’re extending what is already the world’s most open and transparent open-source hub to allow technology professionals to buy packaged support directly from the creators of the software.”

Marketplace gives open-source projects and service providers a seamless process for selling services to the site’s global market of
IT buyers. Sellers are free to set their own pricing, support levels and service types. The Marketplace’s reputation system allows buyers and sellers to rate each other after each sale. There is no fee for listing services on Marketplace.

SourceForge, according to Rudolph, “has been working on Marketplace for over a year. We started an open beta in mid-May. In the process of getting the software right, we also got the Marketplace shelves stocked. So, as Marketplace opens today, there’s a nice selection of slightly under 700 open-source programs, including many top products, available for users.”

“For integrated management services, it’s clear that our customers want a consolidated place to buy both software and services,” said Bill Karpovich, CEO and co-founder of Zenoss, an integrated
open-source server and network management company. “Having them seamlessly connected is a real value add. SourceForge’s Marketplace is a great addition to their work with open-source projects, because you can get the support and services you need as soon as you find the open source software you want. Marketplace is a great addition to the SourceForge site, and we’re very excited to be a part of it,” Karpovich said in a statement.

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