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I am thinking about releasing my premium (commercial) project as an opensource project, but I am not sure how the user might benefit, how I will benefit and which license will I use.

I really need to know anything possible about this step...

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What do you mean by "premium"? –  Péter Török Sep 30 '11 at 9:00
    
commercial, edited ! –  SAFAD Sep 30 '11 at 9:04
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Recommended reading: The Magic Cauldron. –  Péter Török Sep 30 '11 at 9:04
    
Is this targeted for developers or other business users? –  JeffO Sep 30 '11 at 11:28
    
Does your commercial project have a website? That would kind of be abusing SO for advertising purposes, but meh, let's see what you got. –  Philip Sep 30 '11 at 14:26
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

An important thing to remember is that if none of your users are programmers, and don't want to be programmers, and if they don't have access to/can't pay programmers, then your project isn't going to form any sort of community. Only programmers really care about the source. They're the only ones that can use it.

I've seen non-programmers in the maptool community, gamers, learn how to program just to help out. And that's pretty fantastic. But unless you have some zealous users, I wouldn't count on it.

Of course, it couldn't hurt, but unless you've had excited users asking for improvements or asking for the source, opening it up might not make that big of a splash.

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+1 - I can buy oil and a filter for less than an oil change service, but I don't want to crawl under my car. –  JeffO Sep 30 '11 at 16:33
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I am not sure how the user might benefit

It will become free and other users (including themselves) can add and improve the project.

how I will benefit 

You will have internet points for creating an open source project. (can also be converted to CV points if your looking for a job/contract work) The project may become far better that it is currently if others contribute. You will also help the open source community, indirectly giving you more great free software.

which license will I use

Your call. There are loads to choose from. GPL is a good one

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free as in freedom or free-juice ?, can you please explain more so I get convinced and convince my partner ?, and will it be worthy if we are targeting an unskilled/non-developer crowd of people ? –  SAFAD Sep 30 '11 at 9:22
    
Have a read of this. opensource.org –  Tom Squires Sep 30 '11 at 9:37
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We lack information on your project but if you target at least partly companies you can opt for a dual licensing model. The FAQ of Quantum Leap is quite interesting regarding this model. See also Business model section of the "about" page.

I especially like this part of their explanations:

Business Model: Many first-generation open source vendors (e.g., Linux companies) build their business model on a free product and paid support, while Quantum Leaps charges for the product and offers free 1-year technical support for every commercially licensed product. As a consequence, we are highly motivated to keep our software free of bugs, easy to use, and to supply good documentation with many examples to minimize our support load and expenses. This is in contrast to many first-generation open-source vendors, where such strategy would actually lower their revenue and profit from support contracts.

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