But The option of hire someone is not real in practice.
In practice, this is how I and alot of other folks make a living. Its just a different model. For example, company X needs a portal and has found they can license a proprietary portal system for $25,000.
NOw maybe the ask me and I say I can build them a portal system with the features they need for $15,000. I then take OSS portal P, code in features S and V, and turn the system over to them. Then (if the contract and licenses allow it) I relase features S and V back into the OSS community, where others may use them and build on them.
Since company X is not a software company (or at least not in the portal business) their paying to have the features added and then releasing them is no loss, since they got their portal for less than the commercial vendor. Even if company X did want to keep the features they had made to themselves for fear of helping the competition, they could certainly do so if we wrote the contract that way (and used an OSS product with a license that allowed it).
So there is no loss to company X in paying to have features added, so long as the total cost to them is less than the competing CSS product.
For example, I won't hire anyone to write the online help (probably a lot of work and money) just to give it to then thousands of users that are waiting for it.
You might not see how to make money writing docs and help, but others do.
Of course there is no reason to give away your documentation if it is good. Many OSS licenses will let you sell modules like help, if you want to go into the software business.
But for most companies, the benefits of developing a custom help & documentation system are in increased productivity.
It's a good theory, in an ideal world, but it desn't work like that.
This is another one of those maxims that is about as true for most CSS as for most OSS. Really, it's not that there is little money to be made (the plethora of Missing Manuals, Idiot's Guides, Definitive Guides, etc., demonstrate that) but that the quality of the documentation and help system is rarely a key criteria in software purchasing.
After all, most users don't have a chance to see how accurate and easy to use the help is until long after they've paid for the sofware & especially in the corp. market, the ones making the purchasing decisions often aren't the ones trying to make the software work.
Thus CSS software's help and documentation is generally terrible, even if it has lots more lines or lbs than OSS docs.
In fact, for much the the very expensive software I've used over the years, the best support has come from user-to-user forums, or from special paid support contracts not included in the original price.
Both of these models also are offered in many OSS products. And the same model mentioned above also works, if company X wants to pay for custom documentation, its worth it to them if the cost is still less than the CSS product, and they can get docs. customized to their needs as well.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
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