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    It’s missing one, the most common one.

    Create and sell something completely different. eg. An embedded device. A service, whatever.

    However, it uses (probably many) open source components which you contribute to and/or developed to scratch an itch on the way.

    ie. You don’t go into thinking “How do I make money from doing Open Source?”

    You go into it thinking, I’m making money doing X, how do I decrease my input development and maintenance costs?

    How do I create an profitable and rewarding ecosystem (for everybody else) around the stuff I’m making and selling?

    How do I stand on the shoulders of giants and ride them into the future, instead of being stuck in one of their footprints?

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      I think it makes more sense to open source something where you are willing do all maintenance for the software, are willing to build a community around a piece of software, or want to use a piece of software across jobs and companies. The normal is still a power law of contributions so you shouldn’t expect open sourcing a piece of software to by itself lighten the development load.

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        Create and sell something completely different. eg. An embedded device. A service, whatever.

        Software consulting (not necessarily using the OSS you release) is a popular one. Plataformatec and DockYard (Elixir), ThoughtBot (Ruby), and Cognitect (Clojure) all do this in their respective communities. Their OSS work builds their reputation and gets them business.

        Also, lots of developers get paid while doing small amounts of open source work because the proprietary systems we work on are built using OSS components, and improving those components helps us do our jobs better. That wouldn’t be enough time to own and maintain a complex project, of course.

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        We may yet see developers wearing sponsor t-shirts, adding sponsor flair to their GitHub profiles, and distributing swag at events in more systematic ways.

        I’m pretty sure I’ve seen variants of this behavior already, and I find it really disagreeable. It troubles me for some reason that writing good useful code isn’t enough–no, instead we look at a future where we have to become trained monkeys dancing in front of twitch streams in the hopes that somebody throws a few cents our way.

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          Kyle Mitchell’s writing on software licensing have influenced my thinking a lot this year. His lead role in drafting a variety of plain language form licenses, both open source (Blue Oak, Parity) and otherwise (Polyform) is to be commended as well.

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            Same here. Here’s the link to his other, non-licensezero writings in case anyone is interested: https://writing.kemitchell.com/

            I’m using Parity for the project I’m working on at the moment, it’s going to be interesting how that will shake out.

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            I’m hearing more and more about a new approach—as far as I can see, still largely theoretical—that bears mentioning. In essence, it’s an inversion: Instead of worrying about how to put your plea, your wares, or your cause in front of eyeballs, get the eyeballs first, and work backwards to funding from there.

            It’s not that theoretical, it’s basically what I’m doing. I do corporate workshops on formal methods, which isn’t exactly a hot skill. About half my blog posts deal directly with formal methods. The other half are more general interest stuff, which helps build a wider, more varied reader base. That way , when I do put out a FM post, it has a better chance of reaching someone who might want to pay me.

            (Which isn’t to say the general interest stuff is less important to me than the FM stuff. I wrote 9,000 words on accident analysis because I got really freaking interested in accident analysis. But it’s still a factor in my thinking.)

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              Pointless nitpick, but I feel the need to mention that an oil company has a lot of relevance to MotoGP. After all, those bikes do have engines, and engines need oil…

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                Is it really “entitled” to not want to see ads everywhere, especially in the f-ing install process?

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                  Hard to say. I guess it depends on how much you receive, and, more importantly, how much you give back?

                  Speaking only for myself, if I used a library/application I didn’t pay for nor support in any other way, I wouldn’t think I’m entitled to complain about anything, at all.

                  I guess there’s an argument to be made that that’s different if I put out ‘free’ stuff myself, or do some other non-trivial support work around open-source. But I’d certainly acknowledge it as valid criticism if I didn’t put any meaningful resources towards that sort of ‘greater good’ but enter the discussion in a negative way…

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                  Users just want secure software conveniently, however, developers should be paid proportionally to benefit they provide to peoples lives.

                  I think the spotify model might work ok for OSS software.

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                    Spotify is an advertisement platform for artists, not a (meaningful) revenue stream. The really big names might make 10-20k a year out of it.

                    Being on spotify is how you build a base of people who will buy concert tickets and merchandise, which are where the money is for musicians.

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                    There is also the business of selling support contracts which is the model of Cloudera and Redhat. There is the model where you open source the core but there are proprietary plugins that only make sense for customers with money. I think the options laid out in the article are all fine as well.