Cybersource is promoting freely available open source software to whitebox builders as a potential revenue earner when installed professionally on new systems.
The Melbourne-based open source specialist said the concept came from communication with numerous builders who were looking for ways to combat falling margins.
"One of the biggest disadvantages they told us about was getting charged higher costs for OEM copies of Windows than the big vendors are paying," Cybersource CEO, Con Zymaris, said.
While recommending vendors still build dual-boot Windows and Linux machines, Zymaris said applications including games, graphics and office software could be open source.
"We are preparing a tool kit that contains pointers to open source software and a process by which builders can bundle it with PCs as a separate product line," he said. "So keep your existing laptop deal but, next week, start advertising an enhanced pack with the same machine and the top 10 open source programs."
Zymaris said the software promoted by the brochure was available online for free. However, he claimed a case could be made for builders installing a selection of quality applications on new machines and charging up to $100 for the service.
"Builders know their customers best and can determine whether they will pay $50 or even $100 for it," he said. "The enthusiasts and propeller heads will always go and get these applications for free. But how many of an average system builder's customers beyond that know you can get a fully functioning accounting package for free?"