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Sean Wheller
May 13 2007
Sustainable businesses from open source
Sunday, 13 May 2007

During my involvement with open source projects, the entrepreneur in me cannot help ponder on ways to apply free and open technologies or their concepts for commercial purposes. One such project/concept is The Freedom Toaster .

Having been involved in the Freedom Toaster project for sometime now, my mind has long been grappling with the idea of taking the technologies and concepts of the project and using them to start a company. These thoughts have also been in the mind of Jason Hudson, the founder of the Freedom Toaster project.

Together we have passed several ideas between each other and Jason has experimented with a number of ideas, testing the market for possible opportunities. During this process we have realized that there are actually a wide range of possible applications to which the technology and concept of the Freedom Toaster can be applied. Almost all of them involve modifying the Freedom Toaster, both technically and conceptually, to service new applications. However, we have not managed to actualize any of the ideas, until now.


More recently, we have come up with the idea to modify the Freedom Toaster and apply it for the purpose of providing free and open information surrounding subjects related to health and social welfare while vending free condoms.

Unlike our other explorations, which have always come up against one barrier or another, this idea seems to moving forward and gaining interest and acceptance. The idea is not to sell condoms but to distribute condoms and health and welfare related educational content free of charge. While this is not a true commercial application it does seem to be of great interest to organizations interested in social impact projects.

Could this break through finally result in us founding a company around the Freedom Toaster project? Well, I think it can. Furthermore, I think that development of the health and welfare and condom idea as a product has a good chance of evolving into other opportunities. If we succeed, I think we will, once again, have proved that the innovation found in open source development projects can serve as a welcome catalyst for generation of new ideas on which sustainable businesses can be founded. In the form of InWords – the open documentation company, we have already proved that this can be done. I hope we can do it again.

The journey ahead is going to be a long one, but I certainly think it is going to one from which we will learn much and have a lots of fun with.

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Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved.

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