Can’t say for everyone, but one thing that stops me from starting to charge for my project (highlight.js) is the implied responsibility to support customers pretty much forever, while with a hobby project I can afford to simply walk away from it for an indefinite amount of time at any moment. And making the leap from a hobby project to a commercial one requires some certainty that it will have enough customer demand to be worth it. Which is a non-trivial assumption.
In other words, it’s a bit more complex than just starting to charge money for working hours.
But I like the article anyway. It does provide a practical solution, even if some details need clarification.
I like it.
I wouldn’t sell an MIT license though, personally; open source licenses are exploitative and don’t return revenue in scale to use. I’d rather run a sales process based on use counts of some sort.
This article is terrible advice.
Remember: Open Source != Free Software.
You are misusing the term Open Source. It has a definition.
Note in your README that the licensing is AGPL by default but an MIT license is available for purchase.
This is not how software licensing works.
Care to elaborate? I can’t see anything contradicting with this (provided we accept the loose use of “Open Source” as “something which source code you can technically and legally download”).
MIT has a specific legal definition that doesn’t make sense here. What he is actually talking about is offering a commercial license with limited distribution rights for service providers. MIT has no distribution or service provider restrictions.
With MIT, you can charge money for the first download. But then that person can just upload it to Github and give it away.
This is an example of what he is trying to suggest.
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The AGPL is the appropriate copyleft license for hosted software.
i see it as a way to say “give us contributions and we’ll gladly sell those to companies for commercial use, and integrate them into the free version that the foss ecosystem uses”. that seems perfectly fine to me; i see open source as a way to build up an ecosystem of good free software, rather than a way for companies to make money. if the license cost is prohibitive for small companies, they are free to use any of the commercial alternatives with more attractive licensing schemes; if there is no such commercial alternative then you’ve just identified a market opportunity.
You are misusing the term Open Source
… the part you quoted is true though.
Which specific part do you object to here? The lack of a CLA? Dual licensing like this (GPL for free, MIT for pay) is so common it has a name: “open core.”
the part you quoted is true though.
It’s true when taken out of context, but he is using “open source” to mean letting people access the source code, not protecting the rights to modify or redistribute the source. In this context the usage of “Open Source” or “Free Software” would be basically equivalent.
Which specific part do you object to here? The lack of a CLA?
Not an objection so much as an observation: his argument appears to rest on allowing non-commercial open-source usage while requiring a license for commercial use. Selling MIT software is a bad way to achieve this. MIT doesn’t prevent you from buying the source and then putting it up on GitHub for other people to use for free. Maybe this was a viable option back when distributing source was difficult, but that’s ancient history.
Dual licensing like this (GPL for free, MIT for pay) is so common it has a name: “open core.”
Open Core is a third option that hasn’t even been discussed yet. In that case you give away the core software for free and charge money for addons. That may be a viable way to go in some cases.
Selling MIT software is a bad way to achieve this
Totally fair, I can get on board with that.
Open Core is a third option that hasn’t even been discussed yet
Huh, I wonder why I’ve always heard it referred to as the dual licensing thing. Maybe I’m just a weirdo.
Marked as off-topic, the content seems better suited for HN.
Remember: Open Source != Free Software
Remember, yes it is.
“Open source” means a lot more than “visible code”. Github is probably exacerbating the misconception that “open source” means “visible source code” by labelling everything that happens on it as “open source”. This just as bad as saying any software you don’t pay for is “free software”.