Question about protected Components – Monetization Opportunity for Knime & Component Creators?


based on this thread:

I understand that components can only be protected (via encryption) when utilizing the Knime Server. However, I feel it creates a huge gap since not everyone starting or being proficient enough to try to make a living by offering Knime-related service can or want to effort the license.

Wouldn’t it be a nice idea trying to bridge this gab by offering the opportunity, i.e. via Knime Hub Pro or Knime Solutions Marketplace, to encrypt components that serve a generic or general purpose? IT would help protecting “intellectual property” (if that term is applicable), preventing shameless coping of great solutions, help drive kudos to the solution creator. Not to speak about managing updates.

Monetization could be done via subscription, execution-volume, one time fees … you name it. I.e. I am currently working on updating a solution for a Selenium example workflow free of charge as it’s an awesome extension – thanks to @qqilihq :wink: But a more advanced solution could and should be made available for purchase.

Also, it would help creating an even more thriving community which already is buzzing. Speaking of which, is there a solutions for “buying coffees” or Patreon to pay respect / say thank you work support?


On the flip side…

Monetizing and encryption of components (which is really just a way of charging for a solution wrapped up in a component) would also create an incentive to protect solutions and breakthroughs for financial self interest. It is hard to imagine that this could have a positive impact on the community and forum activity. It would certainly also reduce our community’s ability learn from each other’s creations, and expand upon or modify them for our own uses.

I personally would be less likely to jump in and assist as much if threads became an awkward battle between some users openly sharing solutions to help people learn vs others trying sell their components…


Valid point, though. I can imagine a middle way as well where Knime, as an intermediary, validating / certifying component solutions, in some sort of Solutions Marketplace, could ensure that access to them is safeguarded by protecting i.e, critical aspects.

Overall, only the time spend worth in money helping us to put food on the table is actually allowing us to offer solutions “free of charge”. Anyways, the monetization alley was more for really complex scenarios which is why I was also asking for buying a coffee / Patreon features.

I am not actively using any of these services yet but I am convinced good deeds shall be honored appropriately. Therefore, I think it would be a well balanced approach where free solutions resemble the large founding of the solution pyramid, followed by as smaller social recognition, then even smaller the solutions marketplace and at very least enterprise server solutions.

It would also help to transition in smaller incremental steps towards the enterprise level all while ensuring incentives from the community wouldn’t get suffocated. What do you think @iCFO?

Adding to that, as the post became too long (ideas just pooping into my head):

Worth to note that the Knime Solutions Marketplace could either serve as a simple 1-on-1 solution exchange where Knime acts as an intermediary (like but more importantly with solution access management.

Or, by establishing and controlling distinct rules so the Knime Solutions Marketplace doesn’t become littered, also serving as more advanced version of the Knime Hub. I.e. by ensuring the solution integrity (maintenance / updates) are done, otherwise the solution gets unlisted.

Or requiring a solution verification fee if it is a “point blank” solution w/o an already existing contractor (i.e. a solution which pulls customer rating from various portals, combining them into an processable feed for Google Merchant Center or a solution for IT Security Automation or “very classic” ETL tasks to migrate data from application A to B).

It is hard to imagine an open source platform focused on community driven support, wider platform adoption, self driven learning paths, and open sharing going in this direction.

That being said… There is a part of the forum focused toward job hiring and project work. Perhaps that could be expanded to where people who don’t just want “help”, but would prefer to outsource a job can post full jobs / workflows and others can provide solutions privately for quoted fees? That is still a lot for KNIME to tackle, and there is complexity and risk in acting as an intermediary as well.

Just one “very unofficial” person’s take. I am sure there are tons of perspectives on something like this.

I can relate to that. Please allow me to bring a bit more structure into the wealth of ideas and points discussed.

It is abundantly clear that Knime offering more chargeable services as described – even if it would advance Knime’s capabilities to provide more innovative nodes by being able to invest more capital and provide the necessary means to Knime professionals to develop services and make a living – would be overkill and eventually defy the initial mission of the App and / or the community.

Initially, while thinking about the situation, I realized there is a gap and thus opportunity for everyone. Reason is, one either opts for Knime Server – which for individual professionals or even small companies could easily be overkill (please mind the fat head vs. long tail) – or fully puts good faith into a client’s commitment to not redistribute / stick to terms. There is no middle way at present.

Low effort & yield
Maybe the most basic question is: Is it allowed in the forum (in general or in the signature) to point to services like Buy me a Coffee or Patreon?

Moderate effort & yield
Continuing that thought, primary in regards to the aspect about protecting intellectual property or ensuring agreements are adhered to.

Option A: Limited Server-Access
Wouldn‘t it be an opportunity to provide limited access by Knime to individuals to a server like architecture only enabling them to share encrypted components?

Knime could charge, like regular SaaS providers does, opening another revenue stream. It would not be liable for the workflow only offering the means to execute. However Knime would still enable and incentivize to leverage the full server capabilities further bolstering it‘s initial goal.

A win-win for everyone.

*Option B: A node that verifies Component Integrity“
What about a node which, once enclosed into a component:

  1. ensures the component hasn’t being altered (component fingerprinting)
  2. verifying execution rights (by checking the instance fingerprint / license key against i.e. an activation-DB)
  3. masking node configurations but still allowing to inspect the component as well as in- and outputs

That verification service would still enable Knime to open a small revenue stream, allowing a certain degree of insights to be gained and the creator to make a living and eventually being able to effort Knime Server.

High effort & yield
The suggested Knime Solutions Marketplace. However, as we concluded, this is way out of reach for many reasons.

Thinking about the Hub I realized there are quite a few outdated workflows or those containing decommissioned nodes (recent example is the Bash Node from NGS). It feels like the Hub needs some level of moderation. An rather simple one could be accomplished automatically by marking workflows with decommissioned nodes as „non-functional“.


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