Articles / Who pays the developers?

Who pays the developers?

Who pays the developers? The company they work for, right? But what about those developers who develop Open Source software after hours, on their own time and equipment? Who pays them? Many say no one does and no one should. After all, it's Free Software. You don't get paid for Free Software. Before we develop such a closed attitude, let's take a look at what one of the founders of the Free Software movement has to say.

Richard Stallman, in his article published in the book Open Sources -- Voices from the Open Source Revolution, says[1]:

"The term 'Free Software' is sometimes misunderstood -- it has nothing to do with price. It is about freedom. Since 'free' refers to freedom, not to price, there is no contradiction between selling copies and Free Software. In fact, the freedom to sell copies is crucial: collections of Free Software sold on CDROMs are important for the community, and selling them is an important way to raise funds for Free Software development."

In short, Mr. Stallman is saying that the marketing and selling of Free Software is important -- if not crucial -- to the success of the Free Software movement. Which brings us back to the question... Who pays the developers?

As a developer or two have told me, they write what they write because of the satisfaction they get from seeing the results of their work. I can understand that; I have the job I do in this industry because making things work smoothly and efficiently is a very satisfying job to me. However, I don't do it for free, no matter how much satisfaction it gives me. Yes, sometimes I set up a network at a friends' house, or help them deal with their ISP (I speak the same tech talk as the ISP), but I still receive compensation. Not monetary compensation, but rather in the form of "I scratch your back, you scratch mine". Developers also deserve fair and equitable compensation for what they do, no matter how much they love to do it.

Some of what these people develop does earn them compensation -- grades in school for projects that are part of a Masters or Doctoral thesis, the recognition of their peers, and, finally, a paycheck from the boss. Unfortunately, that last one often isn't for Open Source development. Yes, a few lucky souls have been able to secure positions inside the cathedral that allow them to work on their projects and get paid. Most, however, aren't that lucky. The need for food and shelter often outweighs the need for personal satisfaction, and you end up writing the code the bosses want instead of the code you want.

The effect is that when push comes to shove, the stomach wins. You give in to the desire for some luxury in your life (like that new $1,200 video accelerator for Quake), take a job in the field you know best, and end up writing code for a company that isn't Open Source.

This often means that there is a conflict between what you write on the job and the project you were working on in your spare time. NDAs stop you from coding your project because it's too close to work, so you turn the project over to other people. They, of course, don't know your vision for the project, nor do they know your style or objectives, so the project takes a new direction, and wheels get reinvented. This tends to slow releases and hamper progress. Worse yet, the project winds up being abandoned altogether.

What are the alternatives? Well, you could become a starving artist, but few (if any) worthwhile projects have ever come out of skid row. Besides, the connectivity sucks. If you're lucky and have a rich uncle (sugar daddy, VC, whatever), you could end up running a Sendmail or a Netscape. You could become a consultant, but this is really just another form of starting your own company, and consultants are like experts -- the more you have, the less you accomplish. For most projects and most developers, these options really aren't options at all.

Often, when we're faced with a problem such as this, looking into history provides the answer we need. In this case, it's books. What do books have to do with the Web? Like the Web, at the time of their introduction, they were a revolutionary new way to deliver information accurately and consistently to the masses. Also like the Web, it wasn't practical for each author to start his or her own company to sell the books they wrote. Not only wasn't it cost effective, it also got in the way of their writing. The answer was: the publishing house.

A publishing house provides the infrastructure needed by the author to market his or her creation, and provides assistance in "tuning" the product to the market, all without stopping the author from doing what he/she loves best. What is needed in the software world is just that, a publishing house for Open Source projects.

Sure, a number of distros already publish and critique software. They sell it, too. What they don't do is pay a royalty to the developer. If a project goes south, they either drop it from the next release, replace it with a new project, or co-opt the project and continue development in-house. They don't pay a royalty to the developer who created what they are now selling.

The time has come to demand the developer's right to fair and equitable compensation for his or her efforts, whatever that may be.

The right to fair compensation is as much a right as any in the U.S. Bill of Rights. A means to publish and distribute what people create is as needed in the software industry today as it was in the book industry centuries ago. Who pays the developers should be the very same people who enjoy the benefits of using what the developer created. TANSTAAFL. I, for one, feel it's time to compensate those who create the software, in a manner that reflects the quality of their efforts.

[1] Open Sources -- Voices from the Open Source Revolution, O'Reilly Press, Copyright 1999, pgs. 56-67.

RSS Recent comments

28 Apr 2001 00:24 pldaniels

As a developer...
In the end, no matter how much pleasure you get

from coding, yes, you have to feed yourself.

Personally I maintain ~6 OpenSource projects of

which are regularly downloaded and used. I've

found that I've had to produce a commercial

version of one of my OpenSource project

(Inflex/XaMime) just so that I can bring in monies

to keep everything paid for. This was met with

quite a bit of teeth-gnashing from existing users.

One thing which does persistantly annoy me about

users of OpenSource software, is the -demanding-

attitude they have with developers, -demanding-

new features and support. Sure thing, pay up and

I'll add those features, else just -wait- until it

suits me to add them.

"Never look a gift horse in the mouth" is an adapt

phrase I think.

28 Apr 2001 04:30 arueckert

I scratch your back, you scratch mine...
Why is it, that noone seems to organize this a bit more professional? I studied the model of LETS (local exchange and trading systems) now for a while and I'm working on a website to support this system for a web community. So you can earn and spend credits for webbased work. I just studied the 'red solidaridad' in Buenos Aires this week, and those systems seem to be very succesful where traditional economy fails.

28 Apr 2001 05:19 risinghigh

are we getting commercial now after all the years?
hello!

i saw a similar typo at gnome 1-2 weeks ago. are

we getting commercial now after all the years?

linux and all its stuff wasnt meant to be

commercial or paid in the past years why starting

now? i hate newcommer people comming on a

plattform like linux and want to make money with

all kinda shit. if you are one of these

persons/companies then linux may be the wrong

plattform for you, you should better decide to

leave for windows or macintosh. you know it that

linux and most of the stuff available on it is for

free. real freedom is 'free' in all ways free from

purchasing, free from using it and free in its

source. i from my side dont want linux, gnome and

whatever is getting turned by people to commercial

shit. if you are pissed because you work so hard

on your source and all you get is shit, then leave

linux. i am developer of my own and i SHARE my

programs for free. i know my little or bigger

contribution for the public will help and i know

also that i get many programs as reward for free.

look what happened to commecials on linux, most of

them arent that successfull at all, because theres

often a better and cheaper/free alternative for

it. i appreciate the hard work from developers for

linux but really no one begged you to do

contribution for linux if so you must understand

the philosophy of linux. i for my side am not

willing TO pay for any development a) i never

begged someone to do development b) i dont want to

pay c) you should know it before starting a

project that your stuff may be freeware and that

there are people pissing you off, if something

doesnt work.

28 Apr 2001 07:15 markmill

Sounds like Bill Gate's letter to the Hackers
I meant this to be on the root of the comment tree but I seem to only be able to respond to an existing comment (hmmmm)

History repeats itself.

At some point it always seems at least one hacker wants to move away from the ethic of giving software away and make money at it. They seem to be stuck in the model of commercial software development. Hey, Linus, Stallman et al have given away significant core technologies that could have literally made them millions. I am deeply grateful for that.

I don't care if Linux is ever a commercial "success" as long as people keep working on the tools because of the love of it. On the other hand I like how companies like IBM, SGI, Sun, and Red Hat are creating tools and applications then giving them back to the movement. If a developer wants to make money they can create their own company or join an already existing one. The rest of us can then enjoy a free OS that allows them to be in control and not at the whim of corporate America.

If I ever create something someone wants I'll be happy to share it because I don't make a living at software, I just make tools I can use in the field I do make a living at.

28 Apr 2001 08:08 pldaniels

Re: are we getting commercial now after all the years?

> shit. if you are pissed because you
> work so hard

Actually, what I was trying to point out is that there are people coming in from the commercial-software world whom seem to not realise that the OpenSource community is not specifically a corporation with a "complaints" box. We try hard, but we can't -always- please.

My choice to start charging for a "commercial" version of software is so that I can continue to provide -free- software as I have in the past, when normally I was employed by someone else. (This way, by working for myself, I am not subject to NDA's and other legal red-tape wrangles).

As directly apposed to thinking I'll create money from OpenSource software.

Regards.

28 Apr 2001 08:11 hexamon

some points valid but...
I think that some of the points made are valid. It is true that developers deserve to be compensated for their efforts.

You have stretched Stallman's comments regarding the need to charge money for OSS to the limit to make your point. There is a BIG difference between charging money for a CD collection of software and a publishing house that tries to collect royalties. I think RMS would object to such a thing and I certain do because it will hinder the OSS movement.

One of the reasons why free software is popular is because it is usually also free in the economic sense. Furthermore there is already a system setup for developers who want to be compensated... its called shareware. Now I know shareware is based on the honor system but it does work quite well for many developers.

Finally it would be realy hard to setup a royalty system for OSS software projects. Lets say you publish some software and start to collect royalties. Then I "buy" your code and modify or embed it to make a new project. When someone "buys" my code (which includes yours) how do we figure out the royalties? Would I have to charge more for my stuff so I can cover the cost of paying you a royalty? Now imaging trying to solve this same problem for projects that start off with hundreds of programmers and spawn derivative projects with hundreds of more developers. Now how do you distribute royalties? Maybe you'll answer "those projects do get royalties because they are too big". But thats not fair is it? The developers for these projects have worked just as hard and deserve compensation just as much.

In short... there is a place for everything. If you want compensation as a developer then you should charge for your code. You can make it a comercial product or it can be shareware. If you want to give away the source code then you just have to accept the fact that others will use your stuff to their advantage; probably without compensating you. If that bothers you then don't give away your source code... you wouldn't be the first to distribute stuff in binary only format.

What you want is to have your cake and eat it too. And yeah I understand the desire but the reality of the situation is that OSS projects will probably always be free in every sense of the word. You want compensation but understand that when people shell out their hard earned dollars they expect more in return than most OSS developers are willing to give. Are you gonna provide support for you projects? Update cycles that are responsive to users desires? If you want to do all that then I say go for it !! But if you still want to give the code away then don't whine when someone else uses your stuff to make a buck as well. Your publishing house example is a little flawed. Authors don't "give" their works away to anyone in general and they don't allow derivative works without negotiated contracts. When an author does put something into the public domain they voluntarily give up the right to keep others from using their stuff and making derivative works. Guess what... same thing with developers !!

Overall the system works as is. Lots of people put code into the collective pot and lots of people take out. Those that take but don't give are still making some positive impact because of the "media" exposure of having someone base their business/project on OSS code. I think most people are willing to give back although everyone doesn't have to give back in the same way (ie: code).

28 Apr 2001 10:35 VBEGGI

Who pays developers ?
I am one of the users of free software that hasn't yet had the chance to develop a free application good enough to be shared with anybody.

At present I feel guilty like a kind of "dracula" (or some other overgrown mosquito) sucking blood from open source people at no risk and no cost.

Nevertheless I would be very glad to sustain open source in some way.

In my opinion the very revolution of open source is in the implicit or explicit agreement: "everyone contributes as much as he can, but everybody "own" the product".

The strength of such a way of association seems to have even the power to shake many commercial organizations.

Are we shure that there is no way, for people like me (not clever enough to produce good stuff), to contribute as they can with little or more "free" money ?

And more: are we shure that there is no way to make it fall in the right hands ?

It might be a matter of good algorithms. An intresting claim for the community of developers.

28 Apr 2001 12:13 neurohacker

Motivation
Free Software I write is is strictly the result of selfish motivations -- I want to grow my own knowledge of some system or I need some tool or functionality that does not exist (or I cannot afford to buy).

Satisfying those goals does not have to conflict with my day-job. If, however, I want to author some system that may conflict with the interests of my employer, I either need to

a) clear it with my employer -- it's not fair for them to pay for their competition

b) forego the project until there is no ethical conflict with my day-job

So, this only really becomes a problem when a developer wants to write software that conflicts contractually (or ethically) with their bread-and-butter.

This is a situation where some developers want to have their cake and eat it too -- they want to get paid for their work, but they want to compete with the people who are paying them for their work.

Yes, software should be free (as in speech), but not at the expense of someone who doesn't believe in the cause.

28 Apr 2001 12:34 skessler

donations
what about voluntary donations ?

what about a system like the mandrake has setup for donations ?

or the paypal account that eazel has setup (www.paypal.com -> paypal@eazel.com) ?

what about if sourceforge implement voluntary donations so you can contribute money to your pet proyect ?

(of course, with all the insecurity now days, there should be a statement that credit card info will be destroyed after the payment)

/sergio

28 Apr 2001 12:40 datamoist

Another Avenue
1) The license you put your code under is a

personal choice. You did not put your blood sweat

and tears into the code, so you don't get to

specify how it should be used.

2) If you are unhappy that your code might make

money without you, then don't open-source it.

3) Don't try to "fix" open source/free software.

It created linux, Apache, and Perl in the 80's and

90's, well before money was involved. In fact,

these projects all pre-date the term

"open-source". Open source is not broken. In fact,

it's stronger than ever. Don't try to kill the

goose that lays the golden eggs.

4) If you personally are trying to figure out how

to make money and still hack, consider this: Get a

job at any random company that uses open-source

software. Say your job is "webmaster" and you are

in charge of making sure the web server runs. You

can feel free to make improvements to apache or

linux. You can usually prove that your company

benefits when you do this. Their web server has

fewer problems, etc. You can easily see that the

company can't possibly make money off these

improvements (it takes quite a bit of money to

package sofware, pay the distributor, pay off

stores to get shelf space, etc). Plus your company

is not in the software business--they make money

making widgets. You win (you get paid to hack on

the job), your company wins (they get a customized

web server) and the world wins (they have a good

web server with source to study for free).

Example: Larry Wall was working at NASA's JPL when

he wrote perl to solve a particular problem he

had. Maybe he took a little longer to solve the

problem, but his solution (perl) was so much

better, it benefited NASA immensely. Not just in

his one project, but on other projects as well.

NASA was never going to go into sofware sales

anyway, so they don't care that Larry gave away

his work. Everybody wins.

28 Apr 2001 14:25 docelic

whatever.

the market is open for companies that produce *solutions* based on free software.

1) employed people will get paid for their services/products and support

2) they will btw add more features, modify or write new software and give it for free (of charge)

3) just as now we have large tech support centres (microsoft, Sun... whatever), the same way

will those companies provide support in their area.

4) its stupid to talk about charging free software.

Anyone technically capable and *privately* interested in making software can decide

what license will it be relased under.And most people who do GPL and free software

do it because they like the philosophy (open, free...) and power of such software.

28 Apr 2001 14:47 cullenfluffyjennings

Lots of people have 6 digit salaries to do nothing but write open source software

Vovida Networks had about 45 engineers that were all paid competitive silicon valley software engineering rates to develop Voice over IP (VoIP) software. Pretty much everything they developed has been open sourced at www.vovida.org. The company was acquired by Cisco for amount that is almost unimaginably large to a mortal like me. Cisco has continued to pay these engineers to develop this software. The question is Why? who really paid for it? At least part of the answer is that VoIP software will help make the internet more useful, this will drive packets on to the network, and people will buy Cisco routers and gateways to move all these packets. Who paid for it, well at some level, you did, you pay an ISP for connectivity, they buy routers, cisco pays engineers to build things that bring value to you by using the internet.

I'm posting this on Freshmeat - and I'm willing to bet that the guy who set up this web site got paid, and paid well to do it.

Cullen

28 Apr 2001 16:44 Avatar ipublicis

Earning money and return
Hi,

We are among the one's who earn money with OSS developers. We distribute a version of Linux (Conectiva Linux) and several other Linux and web products. But the prices of those products are so low that it's impossible to survive only with that so we sell a bunch of related services (including assistence).

So what are we giving to the community in return?... Well! For instance, we made a portuguese spoken forum for Linux available to all. We write articles for a few sites. We are planing to produce a portuguese site like freshmeat, and above all we cooperate with several web OSS products translating versions to Portuguese.

One of the things that distros do some times to return some money to the community:
sponsering events, contracting some developers so they can mantain theire project rolling, publishing reviews at a low cost, developing software in-house and giving it to all, etc, etc, etc.

So you see that there are many ways to contribute.

We support the OSS but we also develop specific software for some of our clients. And one of the things that developing free software gives is that people (or we may say future clients) can see that you know what your are doing. Doing free soft could be a way of doing self promotion also.

Sorry for the bad english but I'm portuguese :-)

28 Apr 2001 16:50 aaronjohns

OpenBank
Why not just create an open bank account that users of Open Source software can easily donate to. Setup a board or advisors to oversee the account and then distribute money based on time on the list. If a project is successful it will get more funding because it will remain in use longer, or at least that is the theory.

These are totally for sake of an example

1 - 2 Months $50

3 - 4 Months $100

5 - 6 Months $200

7 - 8 Months $400

9 - 10 Months $800

11 - 12 Months $1600

1 - 2 years $3200

3 or more years $5000

These amounts could be paid month/annually/quarterly what ever seems to be the most manageable. A percentage method may need to be adopted since that would allow for the amount in the fund to dictate how much each project could even get out of the pie.

This system would promote long-term commitment to the community.

Still don't know how to determine which projects should be on the list, but it might be able to be done through votes and mailing list traffic.

There is no 100% fair way to create a payment system for Open Source. This system tries to make it easy for people that want to fund Open Source, but don't know where or how to do it. Which would include me.

It could even be suggested that Linux distributors pay .5% into the OpenBank so that they directly assist the developers who make their product possible.

Crazy?

29 Apr 2001 07:52 nightwriter

I wrote the article so here is my extra two cents.
I asked, and with the exception of a lone e-mail I got what I expected. Open, honest debate. My purpose in writing this article really is to stimulate and learn from this kind of debate. I firmly believe in the concept of Open Source, however I also don't believe that Open Source is a communist plot to overthrow the American economic system. (sorry Redmond). What I am trying to do now within the movement is:

1. Expand the range and depth of development. Opening the doors of Open Source to even more participants.

2. Create incentive to inovate.

3. Promote Open Source OS's as desktop/office/handheld OS of choice.

4. Take the best that the Cathedral has to offer and install it into the bazaar.

5. Give business the "warm fuzzy" that it needs to promote the use of Open Source software in thier day to day work (ie the desktop in the cubicle)

6. Move the ability to use Open Source software from the geek to the meek, in other words make it simple enough for my mother to use.

7. Create an organization that is as resposive to the community of users as possible.

In response to some of the questions above. Donations would be great. But most of them would be eaten up by admin costs. Unless of course you sent it to the group directly. The problem with this isn't that donations aren't great. It's the *#$^&^ tax man and it's inability to figure out how to take his unfair share that often hurts this scheme. (if the total amount is small he won't notice. true) As for the rest, well I'm concened with apps not OSs. I'll leave the OS part to Linus, FreeBSD et al to deal with. I just want to promote applications for all of them. What happens if someone gives a copy of one of our apps to a friend.... Cool... they are open source after all. Maybe that friend will like what he see's and come check us out, and buy something. As for what would happen when group b uses part of group a's code. First the honesty in giving credit where credit is due, tends to be extremely high in the community. As a result the decision on what to do in a case like this really would be up to the community. If app B is a 100% clone of app A I trust that the community would be insensed and that app would be dropped. Again thanks to all who responded, your comments will have an affect, hopefully positive for all.

29 Apr 2001 20:50 bug1

Demand nothing
"The time has come to demand the developer's right to fair and equitable compensation for his or her efforts, whatever that may be."

Maybe you got caught up in the heat of the moment with this comment. It is totally incorrect (IMHO), i really hope you wernt being a troll.

Demanding anything in return for our work is placing an extra restriction on the softwares use, which takes away from its freedom.

Demanding compensation may mean the project would have to change the license its distributed under to a non-free one.

If we free our code then we are doing the right thing, if society doesnt adequately reward us for our efforts then that is a flaw in society, not in us.

30 Apr 2001 00:29 opitzs

brave new world
There are more and more people outside trying to make you pay for the air you breath...

The authors of free software made it free, because they believed in it. Next thing is they believe in free commercial software.

I think, the system of the future (and the past) will be more FSF like foundations.

I don't believe in making a software free and make people pay me for it.

"collections of Free Software sold on CDROMs are important for the community, and selling them is an important way to raise funds for Free Software development"

I don't think he had a system like yours in his mind or would even find some good words for it.

Because you corrupt the system of free software.

What is the next logical step to protect your investment?

Getting the copyright for the single program package?

I think we agree that this would be ridiculous.

But you have to save your investment, don't you?

Sorry, but what is free software if you can't get it for free?

It is commercial.

Kant's categorical imperative forbids a system like yours, because the question of what would happen if every one thought and acted like you had to be answered with: it would be the end ( of free software)

30 Apr 2001 00:49 opitzs

Re: brave new world
I forgot:
According to Stallman (you picked his name) the money earned by OSS is immaterial for the developers (mostly the solution for a problem and fame).
He said the money earned with OSS is money you make with services around the OSS, like packaging a stable system, providing consultation and support and so on.
Your company doesn't fit into this scheme.

30 Apr 2001 01:59 criswell

Re: I scratch your back, you scratch mine...
People have tried this. Remember SourceXchange? I think the problem is two-fold:

1) Trying to get people who need software and are willing to pay for it to trust this type of development. Let's face it, the customers typically really don't know much about the development process (or they could just make the software themselves ;-) and they have this "cathedral" view where software that's worthwhile must come from some big "respectful" company with marketters and lawyers and pages of legally binding material. Trying to convince them otherwise is a hard task.

2) Trying to get software developers to work for them. This is a problem because the really talented ones wont work on projects that they aren't already passionate about for free. I feel fine working on my personal projects for free, but when someone needs a C++ library for importing mail (my current paying project) I just can't get all that enthused about it unless I see some money ;-) If you can't get paying customers interrested in it, you can't get the developers interrested.

I personally think this type of thing can work... it just is yet to do so. When I does, I really want to be one of the first ones involved.

30 Apr 2001 02:06 criswell

Re: donations
Ever hear of LinuxFund.org? They (essentially) allow for this sort of thing.

I think this can be a good idea... the problem is that people typically aren't charitable... and I doubt we could generate enough funding to provide adequate income to even the smallest fraction of the most talented developers working on the most widely used pieces of software.

Now tax credits would be nice.... but with our largely rep. government right now, this isn't going to happen anytime soon in America at least ;-)

30 Apr 2001 04:19 thomasktn

Community makes good software, not people...
Hi all,

My apinion is that all together make good software not a

person or a group of people.

For example:

If hacker a makes a littel script to update DNS from DHCP

Server, the script is just a script..

If hacker b adds some features, he needs at his companie,

he gives the changes back to a, which improves the script...

Hacker 3 would add some speed to script, because he thousends of Addresses to change... and so on..

The point is, its getting to get a good piece of software.. If there would be a charge on the script or the software, Hacker b,c,and so on.. had never checked out the work from a and had never improved the script to a small piece of software..

Finaly without OpenSource, there wouldn't be a Linux, we all like, nor would there be a perl or apache or similiary Software..

Maybe there would be somthing like BeOS, with just a bit of Software on it, a small system for just a small group of guys, which aren't able to make the comapines tasks running for just a few hours work in a month..

Sincerly

Thomas

30 Apr 2001 09:43 Avatar jdfulmer

GPL
Since you're quoting Richard Stallman, then I'm assuming you're publishing under the GPL. Have you actually read it? The inclusion of your software on a distribution CD will earn you money only by virtue of kindness on the part of the distributor. If capitalist economies relied on kindness for success, then they would have collapsed centuries ago. The point is, the GPL allows redistibution of your code for profit. If you don't like this arrangement, then don't use that license. I've been asked if my software could be included in opensource distributions. I consider this request a courtesy and nothing more. Because if I said "no," the distributor could include it anyway. The certainly have no obligation to pay me.

30 Apr 2001 12:42 phubert

Re: As a developer...
I always wonder when I see critiques of "the Open Source Movement" citing unwillingness to PAY for software. *I* prefer to PAY because SALE of a product implies COMMITTMENT to and RESPONSIBILITY FOR that product (within certain bounds). Not only that, but I prefer to establish a RELATIONSHIP with a software provider whereby I review the product and eagerly await fixes and enhancements and PAY for upgrades! As the article points out, it is certainly only fair that a developer is paid fairly for what he/she produces. If the product is good and USEFUL, people should be glad to pay because it saves them time, effort and grief. Or because it gives them pleasure. A good backup solution that supports my system and devices (CD ROM and DVD RAM, for example) or has such value-added as supplying internal labels that match an archive record on disk (shall we say, a form of "tape management system" software?) with a nice, "intuitive" interface can be a pleasure to use as it saves time, effort, and grief, for example.

Let me suggest you should never be afraid or unwilling to SELL your products. If you support your products, any customers worth having will also support you.

30 Apr 2001 16:02 phubert

Re: are we getting commercial now after all the years?
Paul,

As I was telling a contractor friend, the various Bible societies found that giving away bibles in remote areas implied they had no value and in the end weren't even able to give them away! To impute value to something, it had to be sold. So they employed the practice of SELLING bibles, et al, at a small fraction of their cost and found interest in them exploded.

And, as I indicated in an earlier posting, by PAYING for software, a customer and producer enter into a relationship. I had a long relationship with WordPerfect Corp. and staff because of my avid use and active commentary. I saw many of my suggestions become part of the product. Rather than jump from one product to another, I prefer loyalty based on such a relationship. Both users and producers benefit .. and can develop a mutual respect. There can be much more to selling than mere commercialism and greed.

Value your work highly .. and SELL it. I might become a customer.

Paul H.

30 Apr 2001 17:00 Avatar LionKimbro

Re: brave new world

> I don't believe in making a software
> free and make people pay me for it.
>
> "collections of Free Software
> sold on CDROMs are important for the
> community, and selling them is an
> important way to raise funds for Free
> Software development"
>
> I don't think he had a system like
> yours in his mind or would even find
> some good words for it.
> Because you corrupt the system of free
> software.
> What is the next logical step to
> protect your investment?
> Getting the copyright for the single
> program package?
> I think we agree that this would be
> ridiculous.
>
> But you have to save your investment,
> don't you?
>
> Sorry, but what is free software if
> you can't get it for free?
> It is commercial.
> Kant's categorical imperative forbids
> a system like yours, because the
> question of what would happen if every
> one thought and acted like you had to be
> answered with: it would be the end ( of
> free software)
>

Richard Stallman has very explicitely and repeatedly said that commercial software is not antiethical to liberty ("free") software.

Please don't use ``commercial'' as a synonym for ``non-free''. That confuses two entirely different issues.
A program is commercial if it is developed as a business activity. A commercial program can be free or non-free, depending on its license. Likewise, a program developed by a school or an individual can be free or non-free, depending on its license. The two questions, what sort of entity developed the program and what freedom its users have, are independent.

In the first decade of the Free Software Movement, free software packages were almost always noncommercial; the components of the GNU/Linux operating system were developed by individuals or by nonprofit organizations such as the FSF and universities. But in the 90s, free commercial software started to appear.

Free commercial software is a contribution to our community, so we should encourage it. But people who think that ``commercial'' means ``non-free'' are likely to assume the idea is self-contradictory, and reject it based on a misunderstanding. Let's be careful not to use the word ``commercial'' in that way.

It is important to realize that free software can be sold in both ethical and moral confidence, and it was never intended any other way.

30 Apr 2001 17:03 Avatar LionKimbro

Bounties for Bug Fixes
Bug fixes should have bounties. Sure, developers love to fix their bugs, but there are some that just don't seem worth the time, or that they don't feel like doing. Those bugs should be assigned a bounty.
This won't earn a project a ton of money, but it can help pay the bills.

01 May 2001 02:18 pbropencountryorg

Re: I scratch your back, you scratch mine...

> People have tried this. Remember
> SourceXchange?
%[...]
> I personally think this type of thing
> can work... it just [has] yet to do so.
> When I does, I really want to be one of
> the first ones involved.

SourceXchange's model is significantly different than
Open Country's. There's no "bidding" or "custom work"
aspects to Open Country. The open source projects go
where they wish, incorporating feedback from users
wherever it makes sense.

I'm glad to see your optimism; I've known for twenty years
that alternative means of rewarding programmers would
someday prevail, and I'm proud to be part of making that
a reality.

-Paul Reiber

CTO, Open Country

pbr@opencountry.org

01 May 2001 02:29 pbropencountryorg

Re: Sounds like...

> [...] If a developer wants to
> make money they can create their own
> company or join an already existing one.
> [...]
> If I ever create something someone
> wants I'll be happy to share it
%

Or, they can submit their software to a publisher like Open Country and get paid royalties. And they can keep their day jobs. Creating your own company's quite a hassle (I know; I've done it) and "joining an existing company" means doing
what they want to the code base rather than what you want.

I'm glad you're happy to share your work; that's the sign of a potentially great programmer. Another sign is that they pretty regularly do create stuff that people want.

-Paul Reiber

CTO, Open Country

pbr@opencountry.org

01 May 2001 02:51 pbropencountryorg

Re: Demand nothing

> If we free our code then we are doing
> the right thing, if society doesnt
> adequately reward us for our efforts
> then that is a flaw in society, not in
> us.

Open Country is an attempt to help society remedy
the current inadequacy, using that most powerful
of influencers: $

I don't expect to ever see a dime from my debugging
of 4.2bsd csh, tar, dump/restore, syslogd, and others.
I did that work starting about 20 years ago; I often
wonder what my life would have been like if a reward
structure like Open Country had been available then.

Yes, James can sometimes get carried away.

That's part of what I like about him; serious enthusiasm.

Best,

-Paul Reiber

CTO, Open Country

pbr@opencountry.org

01 May 2001 02:58 pbropencountryorg

Re: brave new world

> It is important to realize that free
> software can be sold in both ethical and
> moral confidence, and it was never
> intended any other way.
>

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Thank you, Lion Kimbro.

We feel that developers should be rewarded for doing
what they do best; developing. Phone support, documentation, and packaging new releases doesn't sound to me like developing. That's why publishers provide a sensible and necessary service to the open source community.

Best,

-Paul Reiber

CTO, Open Country

pbr@opencountry.org

01 May 2001 03:05 pbropencountryorg

Re: Community makes good software, not people...

%[...]
> The point is, its getting to get a
> good piece of software.. If there would
> be a charge on the script or the
> software, Hacker b,c,and so on.. had
> never checked out the work from a and
> had never improved the script to a small
> piece of software..
> [...]
>
> Sincerely
> Thomas

I understand your concern. Open Country would never consider charging money for source code, and, in fact, promotes collaboration between open source developers.

What we charge for is the quick and painless installation
of full-blown top-quality linux applications.

We have calculated that the time saved in using QwikClick
to manage applications (over manually downloading, compiling, installing) is worth much more than our purchase prices.

Thanks for your feedback,

-Paul Reiber

CTO, Open Country

pbr@opencountry.org

02 May 2001 06:57 opitzs

Re: brave new world
Thanks for the information

Sven

04 May 2001 12:45 Tercano

complains ...
Not so very long ago we had a developper complaining he din`t receive the recognition likewise to others of the same profession.He worked in the porno-bizz... what's in a name, isn`t it?
Now we have a `normal` developer fed up with the big mean world, which doen`t see fit to reward him as he sees fit.
Ok, who is next ?
*sigh* ... yes, mister Torvalds?

04 May 2001 15:43 morleron

Re: As a developer...
I definitely agree with these sentiments. I hope to someday earn some money from Open Source software. I also agree with the principle that people should get paid for their work. That is why I regularly buy upgrades from RedHat and other Open Source companies. Yes, I could download the upgrades for free. I choose not to because we live in a market economy and unless GM starts giving away cars and other companies follow suit with their products developers need to be able to support themselves.

I'd rather pay for Open Source software than for proprietary code. I think that as the Open Source movement takes hold more people will realize the benefits to be gained by paying for "free" software. After all, the greatest benefits of Open Source, access to the code, the ability to make your own changes, etc. don't go away when you send the developers money for the product.

05 May 2001 06:54 jtra

Re: I wrote the article so here is my extra two cents.

> I firmly believe in the concept
> of Open Source, however I also don't
> believe that Open Source is a communist
> plot to overthrow the American economic
> system. (sorry Redmond).

Of course open source or free software is not related to communism. In all communism countries you will encounter limited freedom in many ways. That's the opposite of what is free software about - the freedom. (I should know it :-) I'm from the Czech Republic, it was a communist country from about 1948 till 1989)

06 May 2001 00:04 dakoda

electronic communism
as we have seen, amazing things can come from free software. i love the free aspect, as i am also a developer, and i like getting stuff for the same price i charge for it. often, people complain about how this idea often clashes with a zero-sum capitalistic economy. this is where i am often amused. Many things we create can be copied, for essentially no cost. you can copy files, music, whatever. this is clearly not zero-sum. the whole 'i give you an idea, we are both better' thing. What i often wonder, is why so many creative, talented people have not set out to make material things in the same fashion. I say, rather than make our lives dependant upon the almighty $, we destroy it. capitalism lets only the wealthy have the opprotunity to greatly benefit society, and they seldom choose to do so. that is why we are still mainly using internal combusion engines, and reading webpages with crt's (except for you lucky lcd owners :^). the rest of the population, regardless of talent, is running a rat race just to stay alive. we need to produce more things for free, and then slowly eliminate jobs, as they will not be necessary. if you think about it, how many jobs are actually required. how much intelligence does it take to do what many material producing jobs do? with our even partially combined talent, we could produce a machine capable of doing many human jobs, for far less. this is very pro business though, so it is a sticky wicket to try to manuver. a form of electronic communism, if you will. there is nothign wrong with it, just the way it's been implimented. however, once that is done, we can develop entirely whatever we want to, without worying about a lousy life support paycheque

sorry. maybe thats just ideals speaking.

06 May 2001 04:22 nightwriter

Re: I wrote the article so here is my extra two cents.

>
> Of course open source or free software
> is not related to communism. In all
> communism countries you will encounter
> limited freedom in many ways. That's the
> opposite of what is free software about
> - the freedom. (I should know it :-) I'm
> from the Czech Republic, it was a
> communist country from about 1948 till
> 1989)

Jakub,
Please understand I would NEVER claim Open Source to be communistic. Some *bleeeeep* from Redmond did I didn't and wouldn't. What I do believe is that If anyone should get rich it's the creator of the product not just the exploiter. What I want to do is make it so that it is easier for the developer to "consult" on his/her creation and recieve whatever in return makes them want to do more. Money could be the compensation. Trading software could be, a donation to the AIDS foundation, or save the children. Heck I just built a free website as a memorial to a friends mother who just passed. (no URL open to family only) Why, it made me feel good. That alone was adequate compensation. I've explained this to others before. My time is mine. How I use it, to make money for my family, help a friend whatever is my choice. I'm hoping to create an oportunity to give people more choices. To me freedom is the right to chose. Now if I could only get to see the bridges in Prague..... the photos I saw were beautiful.

06 May 2001 20:12 Avatar LionKimbro

Re: electronic communism
Dear Dakoda,
There are several critical flaws with communism that capitalism alleviates quite nicely. Capitalism isn't the end all be all of economic development, but in general, it works quite a lot better than communism. Most of the flaws with communism have to do with it's simplistic view of human behavior. I'll address some of the things you've said right here; If you want to talk at more length, please feel free to contact me.
First, you wrote that capitalist economies are zero sum. This is not true; one of the basic elements of capitalism is that you are allowed to freely trade things for non-zero sum value. Putting serious issues such as the WTO and NAFTA aside for the moment, realize that you are not allowed to freely trade things in a communist society. If you were allowed to, than you have created an economy. People will build values and trade things about. Some people will want certain things more than others, and want other things less than others. A market will form, and you're back in capitalism again. You have to prohibit trade, or else you are a capitalist. Let's consider another approach, outlawing money. By prohibiting money, you've simply made people develop a bartering system. Money is really just an abstraction of work, so that we don't have to deal with keeping the going exchange of sheep for cows in our heads every time we trade. (Note: money is present in communist societies, so if your goal is to eliminate money, communism isn't doing it. Remember that Lenin killed 250,000 peasants who wouldn't sell their food for a pittance to the government, calling them the enemy of the people.) Back to trades. Capitalism allows people to trade things, because it's not so concerned with mandatory equality. Trades are almost always non-zero sum. If it was zero sum, why would the person who is losing something engage in the trade? Consider this: I own a computer, you have $500. You want the computer, I want your $500, so we trade. Now if it were zero-or-under-sum, why would we ever make the trade? If it were zero-sum, why would we even bother to trade? Obviously you value the computer more than you value your $500, otherwise you wouldn't have bought it. Now consider that you had to earn $500. You have a choice: If you want a computer, you can work for $500. When you work for people, they value your work more than the $500. The employer gains something. When you work for people, you value your $500 more than you value your worktime. You gain something as well. Both people gain, this is positive-sum. Voluntary trading is always positive sum. Part of the strength of capitalism is that it allows positive-sum trades, unlike communism, which forbids them.
Next. You said that rather than have our lives dependant on the dollar (which is really the abstraction of work, so in effect, you are saying that you would have your life dependent on something other than work), that we should destroy it. Really, the only thing you have to do to live independent of the dollar is to live detached from desire. If you desire nothing, you have everything you need. Reform yourself first, then you might be in a situation to correct society, if it needs to be corrected. If you feel like you live slave to the dollar, want less. If you want things, earn it. One of the nice things about a capitalist society is that if you don't want things, you don't have to work to get them. You can decide to be poor. It's okay. (When the police interfere with the rights of the poor, that's quite another. Yes, it is a problem. No, capitalism isn't to blame. A lack of respect for people, and a lack of checks on police behavior is the problem.) Nobody is going to force you to work, as communist societies have done. And if you decide you want to be rich and have lots of things, you can work for them. Do you want money? I guarantee you, regardless of your position in the world, you can increase that amount. There are tons of ways. Get another job, pay off your debts, establish credit, build a savings account, put your money into long term CD's. It can be done, and it's done all the time. Read an online book, there's hoards of information online, free, on how to do this.
As for what you said about how most of our society is living in a rat race: This is true. But the roots of the problem are not with capitalism. Rather, it's about desire. Realize that this is essentially a spiritual delima: people are not happy, people are wanting more, thinking that that is going to lead them to happiness. Do you really want to be a revolutionary? Learn and study Divine Love. Learn how you work. Study the lives of people you admire. Take notes. Study. Observe. Watch society. Be receptive, rather than projective. Since you like technology, I recommend you study the life of Benjamin Franklin. Don't weild his quotes as a weapon, use them to instruct yourself first. Study economics, and read some of the old papers people wrote. Read the Federalist papers. You'll find that most of the people who set up our country, and most of the people who are truly maintaining it, are idealists. That's right, capitalism and a free country were the revloutionary ideas of idealists like yourself and I. Think and write for yourself, so that you can organize your thoughts.
As for nanotechnology and replicating things... Read Diamond Age for a view of a world, post-nanotech. It's not a world without strife, humans are still fighting in the age of plenty. The definition of "poor", as usual, has changed. But it's still there. The poorest person today is vastly rich compared to the peeople 1000 years ago. And the richest person of today won't have 1/10th of what people will have available to them in another 1000 years, provided things continue to work out for humanity as a whole.
Anyways, I've had this discussion a number of times with one of my Russian students. He moved here with his parents when he was 5. ( I think that was the age. Why did they move? It's better here.) He, like a lot of USA communists, is under the age of 20 and has anxiety about having to get a job when he's older. The issue isn't really that communism is the way- he really hasn't thought through many of the things he advocated when he still believed communism was the way. The essential thing was that he feared that his skills may not be needed in our world, or that he won't be able to earn. This is a perfectly natural anxiety for young people. It really is; We spend our entire life at home, 20 years of our lives, in a micro-communist system where our parents pay for our lives as we are raised.
The cure to this anxiety is to realize how cheap it is to live here. $500 a month for an apartment, $45 a month for a bus pass, and $100 a month for food. Tack on $100 a month for other expenses, and you have $745 a month. If you have a $10/hour job, you can make that back in 74.5 hours of work, or, 2 weeks of work. You can do considerably less; When I was getting started here in Seattle, I lived in a place that charged $240 a month, walked everywhere, and paid $100 a month for food. That was $340 a month in expenses. I would have to work 30 hours a month which amounts to 8 hours a week- about a day a week to survive. Nice, eh? The other 6 days, I could sit by the International Fountain, talk with random people I met on the street, explore. I really got to learn a lot in that time.
If living is so cheap, why are people homeless? I once gave a homeless person that I had befriended when I first moved to Seattle $150 worth (1 week) of lodging at the Backpacker's Garden in Seattle. We sat down, and reasoned out a plan that with bring him off the streets immediately (the backpackers garden lodging for a week), and in an apartment in 3-6 months time, depending on how much he worked. Until he had his own apartment, he would raise the $240 a month to live in his hostel room. What happened? He didn't work for a week, and got kicked out. Is he a bad person? No, he's just mildly mentally ill. He's a street poet who's stuck on a girl that ditched him long ago, and he can't let her go. He thinks about her all day long, and can't bring himself to work because he's so busy writing down poems about it. I'm serious; I love this guy, he's really nice. Anyways, being homeless, at least in downtown Seattle, isn't so bad. There are plenty of programs that give free food and lodging to homeless people. I asked my friend, and he rattled off a long list of places to go to sleep and eat. Churches are really good, programs like NightWatch are extremely helpful as well. Too bad the government doesn't just give $2.00 vouchers for McDonalds food freely. That might work, I'd have to think about it more. The key is to avoid the beuraceracy. McDee's and BBKing would have to work out a special deal with the government.
If you are concerned about the homeless, carry a loaf of bread around with you in your backpack, and offer slices to homeless people. They are always thankful. More importantly, listen to what homeless people have to say, no matter how (literally) crazy it is. Be there for them. They are humans. Capitalism doesn't mean that you can't share and be a nice person. It just means: Earn your lifestyle. It's intimidating, but ultimately, very liberating.
Anyways, if you'd like to talk about this more, feel free to contact me in any way.
Take care, Lion Kimbro

14 May 2001 19:21 thomasktn

Re: Community makes good software, not people...

>
> What we charge for is the quick and
> painless installation
> of full-blown top-quality linux
> applications.

Well I agree with that..
I think things like Officeapps, Games etc..
Its easy to bring them in charge..
I pay the 70$ for a game Like Q3, or RRII no Q.
But i think the hohle System, every thing witch is nessesary for a plain system should stay free..
Like drivers, or Soundsystems, or printing systems..
Charge the appz np. If a unit does good work.

But i think a thing like the OSS (Open Sound System) should stay free, because its a part of the Base-System, for such a work there should be another way to pay those guys..

Maybe they can make an agreement, with some Game creators.. dunno..

Greetings.
Thomas

06 Jun 2001 10:00 tfagan

Re: some points valid but...

> I think that some of the points made are
> valid. It is true that developers
> deserve to be compensated for their
> efforts.
>
> You have stretched Stallman's comments
> regarding the need to charge money for
> OSS to the limit to make your point.
> There is a BIG difference between
> charging money for a CD collection of
> software and a publishing house that
> tries to collect royalties. I think RMS
> would object to such a thing and I
> certain do because it will hinder the
> OSS movement.
>
> One of the reasons why free software
> is popular is because it is usually also
> free in the economic sense. Furthermore
> there is already a system setup for
> developers who want to be compensated...
> its called shareware. Now I know
> shareware is based on the honor system
> but it does work quite well for many
> developers.
>
> Finally it would be realy hard to
> setup a royalty system for OSS software
> projects. Lets say you publish some
> software and start to collect royalties.
> Then I "buy" your code and
> modify or embed it to make a new
> project. When someone "buys"
> my code (which includes yours) how do we
> figure out the royalties? Would I have
> to charge more for my stuff so I can
> cover the cost of paying you a royalty?
> Now imaging trying to solve this same
> problem for projects that start off with
> hundreds of programmers and spawn
> derivative projects with hundreds of
> more developers. Now how do you
> distribute royalties? Maybe you'll
> answer "those projects do get
> royalties because they are too
> big". But thats not fair is it?
> The developers for these projects have
> worked just as hard and deserve
> compensation just as much.
>
> In short... there is a place for
> everything. If you want compensation as
> a developer then you should charge for
> your code. You can make it a comercial
> product or it can be shareware. If you
> want to give away the source code then
> you just have to accept the fact that
> others will use your stuff to their
> advantage; probably without compensating
> you. If that bothers you then don't
> give away your source code... you
> wouldn't be the first to distribute
> stuff in binary only format.
>
> What you want is to have your cake and
> eat it too. And yeah I understand the
> desire but the reality of the situation
> is that OSS projects will probably
> always be free in every sense of the
> word. You want compensation but
> understand that when people shell out
> their hard earned dollars they expect
> more in return than most OSS developers
> are willing to give. Are you gonna
> provide support for you projects?
> Update cycles that are responsive to
> users desires? If you want to do all
> that then I say go for it !! But if you
> still want to give the code away then
> don't whine when someone else uses your
> stuff to make a buck as well. Your
> publishing house example is a little
> flawed. Authors don't "give"
> their works away to anyone in general
> and they don't allow derivative works
> without negotiated contracts. When an
> author does put something into the
> public domain they voluntarily give up
> the right to keep others from using
> their stuff and making derivative works.
> Guess what... same thing with developers
> !!
>
> Overall the system works as is. Lots
> of people put code into the collective
> pot and lots of people take out. Those
> that take but don't give are still
> making some positive impact because of
> the "media" exposure of having
> someone base their business/project on
> OSS code. I think most people are
> willing to give back although everyone
> doesn't have to give back in the same
> way (ie: code).
>

Very good response. You are right on. Thanks a lot for the comment!

12 Jun 2001 22:55 Caglios

We all know how to play the game.... don't we?
Okay, so perhaps OSS developers aren't recieving the proper amount of credit and 'fame' as they probably should. Thems the breaks. As a developer both of open and commercial code, I understand that any open source I write will probably not see me a return, but of course, that is what my real job is for. In actuality, I would not have gotten where I am today if it had not been for the selfless open source ethic, as it allowed me to learn tricks and certain amounts of 'voodoo' code that I couldn't have garnered from any book or course. To a certain extent, I have gained a competitive edge over a large portion of the team I work with, all through open source. If we start placing tags on who should and shouldn't get paid, does this not detract from the primary ethos of academic interest rather than commercial? Coders who seek payment (in any form) for their works, to me, don't fit into the open source category... even if only licenced under intellectual property.
Fine, the developer may be an artist starving *himself of friends and social adjustment for the sake of *his code, but surely, if they really wanted to get paid, would it not make sense to get a job in the field? Or is that too hard? I wish sometimes that people would put aside their egos for one short second and take an objective account of what it is they're trying to accomplish. Open source is just that - Open Source. We all know how to play the game. Lets stick to the rules.

*(or her. sorry ladies)

13 Jun 2001 00:57 cinnix

not a developer
I am not yet a developer but I do have an opinion. I enjoy using open-source software and fell that many times developers are underappreciated. Two days ago I was reading a comment here at the freshmeat site that I felt was bashing the developer. It was for having messy code and for trying to implement new features when the user thought they should be working the bugs out of old features. I felt that this was entirely out of line. The developer has created a software package for you to use free of charge.
I personally appreciate all open source projects weather or not I was happy with it's performance. The way I see it is that thay have done much more than I ever have. Constructive ctiticism is one thing but the users blatent bashing was disrespectful of the individuals effort.

16 Jul 2001 19:33 jredelfs

Who Paid Benjamin Franklin?
Reading the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, I learned that his attitude towards copyright and patent was very similar to the philosophy behind open source. He felt that inventors and authors should donate their work as a service to mankind. It should be an avocation, not a profession. When we consider the things he wrote and his many marvelous inventions, we can see that he practiced what he preached. Maybe that is why more than two hundred years later his picture is on our hundred dollar bill.

How many professional developers get to work on what they love? Those who work gratis during their unpaid hours do it as a labor of love. As suggested by Franklin it is their service to mankind. And it really isn't unpaid labor.

Skills are enhanced, including many that are marketable. The admiration and respect of ones peers is a form of payment. And we should not discount the satisfaction of unselfishly serving others. Besides, it's fun! Hardly anybody gets paid for their fun. On the contrary, the norm is to pay enormous sums for ones hobbies and pleasures.

Do college professors make big bucks from their publishing? Not generally. They do it for the prestige of being published. They do it to look better in the eyes of their employers and peers.

Finally, in answer to all those naysayers like Bill Gates who foolishly suppose that open source is a threat to the excellence and innovation of software, nonsense! Where proprietary software can actually do a better job, buyers will always be willing to pay the price. And if proprietary software can't do as well, the big commercial companies should be focusing on different projects. They should be busily creating new markets with some of that famous 'innovation' they keep bragging about.

Benjamin Franklin had it right. Bill Gates doesn't.

08 Sep 2001 21:49 mikefm

Re: Sounds like...
I don't like trying to market my own products. I like to code the things I will use or feel others might use and not have to worry about making something marketable. I don't want to have to come up with glossy logos, do press releases, and so forth. I just want to code and maybe get enough money coming in that I can avoid working at Burger King or signing nasty NDA's. I tried some of those sites like elance but they make it a hassle to get paid to code and they charge you for the privledge even before you get paid. I'd be glad to have a disto/publisher look after all the business nitty gritty and pay me some percentage. As long as they still give the code away for free -- as it is licensed -- that is a great solution! My only other real choice is to have a PayPal account and a donations button on my website. Not a very reliable means of income. :)

28 Sep 2002 11:42 strategic

Re: Sounds like...
I couldn't agree more with you. But there are other marketplaces such as ecknowledge.com, rentacoder.com where you can register for free. Infact, ecknowledge.com operates in a very similar way to Elance. The number of projects are very low but they seem to be growing.

> I don't like trying to market my own
> products. I like to code the things I
> will use or feel others might use and
> not have to worry about making something
> marketable. I don't want to have to come
> up with glossy logos, do press releases,
> and so forth. I just want to code and
> maybe get enough money coming in that I
> can avoid working at Burger King or
> signing nasty NDA's. I tried some of
> those sites like elance but they make it
> a hassle to get paid to code and they
> charge you for the privledge even before
> you get paid. I'd be glad to have a
> disto/publisher look after all the
> business nitty gritty and pay me some
> percentage. As long as they still give
> the code away for free -- as it is
> licensed -- that is a great solution! My
> only other real choice is to have a
> PayPal account and a donations button on
> my website. Not a very reliable means of
> income. :)

08 Oct 2002 17:14 smoses

Re: electronic communism
Yeah those were the days.
at the Speakeasy drinking quad breves and living for next to nothing. My favorite thing about the area was how easy it was to get lost. But even when you have no idea where you are, there is always a coffee house near by.

I miss Seattle.

Good point on communism too. I mostly agree.

08 Mar 2003 10:11 cullenfluffyjennings

Re: Lots of people have 6 digit salaries to do nothing but write open source software
A lot less people have 6 digit salaries to write open source software than in 2001.

17 Dec 2006 15:15 L505

Re: brave new world

>

> % It is important to realize that free

> % software can be sold in both ethical

> and

> % moral confidence, and it was never

> % intended any other way.

> %

>

>

> Couldn't have said it better myself.

> Thank you, Lion Kimbro.

>

> We feel that developers should be

> rewarded for doing

> what they do best; developing. Phone

> support, documentation, and packaging

> new releases doesn't sound to me like

> developing. That's why publishers

> provide a sensible and necessary service

> to the open source community.

>

> Best,

> -Paul Reiber

> CTO, Open Country

> pbr@opencountry.org

But Developers don't get paid for developing, developers get paid for packaging, and phone support. The gnu web pages say so.

17 Dec 2006 15:48 L505

Re: As a developer...

> I definitely agree with these
> sentiments. I hope to someday earn some
> money from Open Source software. I also
> agree with the principle that people
> should get paid for their work. That is
> why I regularly buy upgrades from RedHat
> and other Open Source companies. Yes, I
> could download the upgrades for free. I
> choose not to because we live in a
> market economy and unless GM starts
> giving away cars and other companies
> follow suit with their products
> developers need to be able to support
> themselves.
>
> I'd rather pay for Open Source
> software than for proprietary code. I
> think that as the Open Source movement
> takes hold more people will realize the
> benefits to be gained by paying for
> "free" software. After all, the
> greatest benefits of Open Source, access
> to the code, the ability to make your
> own changes, etc. don't go away when you
> send the developers money for the
> product.
>

The problem with this is that you are paying redhat money but you are not rewarding the hard working developers who do not work at red hat. This is the same thing as a newspaper company who gets millions of dollars for selling their newspaper - but the newspaper folks pay the carriers to deliver the papers for much much less than minimum wage.. yet the carriers who do all the work dropping the papers off at the doors should be rewarded much more than they are in reality. So when you pay redhat, you may be paying someone for something - but you are not neccessarily helping developers, you are just helping the CEO's and customer service reps at red hat.

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