Even as open source has become big business, some of the world's most popular open-source projects remain labors of love for a growing body of developers. Such developers invest years of their lives writing code and fielding complaints from free riders, and they actually seem to like it. Or love it, in the case of the lead …
Dear Adblock Plus
You provided me with a way to cut the bandwidth costs for a charity.
I've been writing open source or Free Software for nearly 20 years. It's certainly not for the money! I'm not even sure if I like it to be my day job really. If you are doing it for yourself you can generally work on what interests you and to your own deadlines. There's the added bonus of no management either and for that I'd gladly forsake a salary.
Just doing it because I needed to for paying the mortgage and buying food would be sad. It's a hobby and earning a salary for it would make it like work.
If I am capable of changing something to make my life easier then I will. OSS is capable of being changed directly by me.
My reason to contributing to F/OSS projects is always the same, "because I use it and I want a to use a better product." I suppose I could keep my changes to myself, but if they get included I don't have to patch the bug I hate every time they add a new feature I like (flip-flop those as nessicary).
So, scratch me up to "enlightened self-intrest."
I like adblock ABP but
my daughters use a horrible flash gaming site that insists on them watching adverts (for adult products - the games are for <10 year olds.????) before allowing them to play the games and its hammering my bandwidth. If it gets any wors I may have to interact with them!
The below comment is more highfalutin' than this title.
The basic clash here is that too many in management still believe in "profit maximisation". Once you understand that a corporation wouldn't survive without its surrounding society, it's easy to see how "maximising" profit correlates with minimising utility per cost for your customers eventually must come around and bite you.*
Now it just so happens that in FOSS, monetising the traditional "maximising" way is hard, not only because it usually boils down to having to do that indirectly -- there's usually no revenue stream directly generated by the product -- but also because the accepted-in-commerce profit extortion clashes so violently with the reasons for using FOSS in the first place.
One way to monetise FOSS is to come up with ways to leverage your mass deployment base somehow, and do it such that it doesn't sell out the users. This isn't impossible, but so far there aren't very many opportunities to do so. It is a neat fit if you can find it, though. Another way is to offer consulting services, and perhaps there are still other ways. Neither really lets you buy an empire, but that's not really why we're in it anyway. Having the bills paid for something you love doing is arguably better wealth than getting sackloads of monies for something you hate doing.
Because we're so conditioned to "you get what you pay for", we assume that because there's no direct price tag it must therefore be worthless. I think that can be taken as conclusively disproven nowadays. redmond is actually quite right in asserting that FOSS is only free if your time is free. You usually "pay" not in monies but in other contributions. They're also quite wrong, in implying that would be bad for FOSS users. I think it merely illustrates just how overpriced their product really is. So FOSS is indeed bad for their business model, but unless they're a monopoly, they'd be forced to change business models and do better a different way. That, too, would be the capitalist way.
* I didn't come up with this but read it in Peter Drucker's work.
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