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Businesses Open Source Software The Almighty Buck Games Linux

The 'Everyone Gets the Source Code, Donations Get You Binaries' Software Model 341

Posted by Soulskill
from the freedom-with-a-side-of-sustainability dept.
TroysBucket writes "One developer who is trying to fund his development work via donations has taken on an 'Everyone gets the source code, donations get you binaries' business model, where he provides installers and binaries directly only to donating users. Quoting: 'A very central goal of everything I am doing, right now, is to show a concrete [and highly documented] way that other developers can fund their own FOSS work. With that in mind One major mistake I made, right off the bat, was that I provided very little direct benefit to people who donate (no “perks”).' Has anyone seen this work well before with other projects?"
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The 'Everyone Gets the Source Code, Donations Get You Binaries' Software Model

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  • Bad Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @03:56PM (#40506913)
    All this will really do is decrease your user-base. If I download some source and it's lacking the necessary scripts to compile and install the thing, I move on and find another solution that does what I need. I don't have time to write my own make files to get the thing working.
  • Re:Mysid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NemosomeN (670035) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @03:57PM (#40506917) Journal
    By only providing the binaries to donors, it looks like you are only charging nontechnical users, while more technically inclined users get it for free.
  • Re:Bad Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelJ (140077) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:05PM (#40506983)

    I don't have time to write my own make files to get the thing working.

    So you're too cheap to give some money to the person who's offering to do all that work for you?

  • Re:One caveat. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:05PM (#40506987) Homepage Journal

    If you're a main developer and pushing progress into the project, you have a de-facto monopoly on new releases -- other people's releases will be late and/or less tested. You will be the official source.

    In GPLv2 (perhaps not GPLv3) you can have the program open source, but keep the build scripts to yourself.

    You can enforce being official even further by registering a trademark on your products name. Then other builds need to change the name if they want to publish releases. All of that is fine with the GPL, and is not depriving users from the source code.

  • Re:Bad Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:10PM (#40507019)

    so what? smaller paying userbase is better than larger nonpaying one, IF your goal is to make money. but some of us have other goals with the software we give away.

  • Re:Mysid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:24PM (#40507089) Homepage

    Think "car analogy" and you can fill in the blanks yourself.

    This is how things work in the world; if you are an expert in a certain field, you'll benefit from being an expert in that field.

  • Re:Bad Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:45PM (#40507221)
    Because you can't return software. If I buy something at the store and it doesn't work as advertised, I return it. If I pay money for software and it doesn't work as advertised, I'm screwed.
  • Re:Bad Idea (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:55PM (#40507269)

    He's charging the people who are too stupid to do this.

    Probably a wise criterion, as they'll be 90% of the support burden.

  • by bmo (77928) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @05:19PM (#40507397)

    >Which proves, once again, how stupid it is to use the GPL.

    1. The article doesn't say he objects to other people building binaries. In fact, he realises this will happen and doesn't care.

    2. The GPL does not forbid building binaries in exchange for cash. In fact, such services are encouraged.

    3. Trying to turn this into a BSD vs GPL flamewar.

    Your anti-GPL rant just demonstrates that you are about as intelligent as jerryleecooper.


  • Re:Mysid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BronsCon (927697) <> on Saturday June 30, 2012 @05:48PM (#40507509) Journal
    By charging a small fee to those most likely to require technical support, it looks like you are covering your support costs in the most fair manner possible. Hmm?
  • Re:One caveat. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xenx (2211586) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @06:11PM (#40507629)
    Or, they do care and they wish to support the work.
  • Re:One caveat. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by History's Coming To (1059484) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @06:14PM (#40507647) Journal
    If it wasn't for "laziness" we'd all be building our own computers, starting with copper ore and coal (I've always wondered how far one person could get...). "Laziness" is generally a good thing, it stops you expending energy and time on less productive things. I recently had to deal with a lot of JSON data (Facebook's gallery API), and while I could have sat down and mapped it all out I found it easier to use an online tool somebody has been good enough to provide for free. The tenth time I found myself using it I donated $5, totally worth it and I hope he enjoys the beer. It's hardly an unusual business model, take a look at the commercial level Linux distros for proof of that. My main client is "lazy" because he can't be bothered learning HTML and a bit of PHP/MySQL - I win because he pays me to do it, he wins because he can get on with running his business, playing golf, or whatever else he fancies.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @08:37PM (#40508243) Homepage

    I seriously doubt the intent of the GPL was to enable users to undermine the ability of people to create software for a living.

    But its intent clearly was to preserve the freedoms of software users, one of which is the freedom to redistribute the software. You don't really have to "doubt the intent" of the GPL at all, since RMS has written extensively on the subject. He clearly does not believe that the user's right to redistribute software undermines the ability of people to create software for a living. If Sveasoft does think so, maybe it shouldn't be messing around in the world of GPL software to begin with.

  • Re:One caveat. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swilver (617741) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @08:58PM (#40508339)

    It's unfortunate it does not also say that these scripts should be fire-and-forget. Compiling some of the more complicated "GPL" projects is an exercise in frustration, requiring anything from specific OS versions, specific versions of build tools (that are no longer in repositories) and of course whining to the developers enough until they give in and tell you what is missing from their wiki compile-it-yourself page.

  • Re:Seriously (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chrismcb (983081) on Sunday July 01, 2012 @01:46AM (#40509143) Homepage

    Not providing the source code either suggests you have something bad to hide,

    Not providing the source code does not suggest in any way shape or form that you have something to hide. Only that you wish to get compensated for your hard work.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?