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One of the reasons that I switched from Linx to OSX was so that I could pay for more of my software. Why? Because then I more of the software I used could be maintained by someone who had the time to dig into bugs and UI problems and to fix them. But in Linux, couldn't I just edit the source myself? Realistically, no. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to source-dive in a totally new project in a language I never use, especially without someone willing to give me a walkthrough of the architecture and fundamental models of the program. It is waaaay more efficient for these to be fixed by an engineer working not in their spare time, but as their full-time job.

A developer targeting OSX knows they have an audience of people willing to pay him money so he can spend his whole day doing usability tests and his evening watching a little league game.

I do miss strace though.




This is actually completely backwards in an ironic way. I have found in the past that when I made a program closed source, for sale, all further incentive to do anything to the program became connected to its revenue. Like, "it hasn't generated any meaningful revenue, so I cannot justify spending another N hours on it unless those hours lead to sales."

Most software that you can buy has little or no revenue, which means you will be one of a scarce set of suckers paying for it. That meagre revenue doesn't pay for the developer resources to improve the program.

Paying for software is like an insurance premium against bugs and issues in that program.

Paying for some unpopular software with few users is like buying insurance from an insurance company that insures only a handful of other policy holders.


Alfie Kohn’s Punished by Rewards provided hundreds of sources, tested and re-tested proof, and description of experiments proving over and over again that for humans, extrinsic rewards kill intrinsic motivation.

If you want your child who loves drawing to stop loving it, reward them. If you want them to stop learning, tie a reward to their learning.

It’s very simple, really.

Being able to receive sustainable income for doing what you love doing, is a different formula though. Subtly, but different.


I haven't read the material in a while but I think this was sensitive to framing. That is, I don't think it's exactly true that attaching a reward to something harms performance — I think one has to frame the task as being done for the purpose of the reward. If I am remembering this correctly, then emphasizing someone's intrinsic motivation while also providing an extrinsic reward should be ok.

If you happen to remember the material well enough to clarify on this point I would appreciate it :)


If the reward is conditional on performing the task, it triggers the loss of intrinsic motivation.

It is basically a way to hijack the intrinsic reward mechanism and externalize it.

I imagine if you provide support for he activity, regardless of outcome, and regardless of it occurring or not, then the intrinsic motivation may remain in place.

I am not speaking from memory though; I myself would have to look at the book.


> If you want your child who loves drawing to stop loving it, reward them. If you want them to stop learning, tie a reward to their learning.

Is there a way to achieve the opposite?

> Being able to receive sustainable income for doing what you love doing, is a different formula though.

What is the difference?


To “achieve the opposite”: give up on your agenda for their relationship with drawing, or whatever interest of theirs you want to promote.

Support it when requested, but give support only when requested.

Think of your child as being driven by their enthusiasm and interest. They don’t control these forces and you do t either. Trying to force them kills them. Trying to direct them suffocates them.

So, be there, celebrate what they celebrate, lend an year to their doubts, feel free to offer a bit of support but never insist on it. Watch it grow and maintain the soil; that’s all you can really do.

Compliments are also rewards by the way ;)

I highly recommend taking a look at the book, it’s in most libraries.


So, don't buy hours or drawings, but do buy pencils, paper, brushes and canvases, and show an interest, but don't say OMG what a gorgeous drawing every single time.


Exactly.

It’s their relationship, their art, their journey. Don’t try to become a main character in it. It’s OK to be a benefactor, but don’t try to amplify it or change its course.


I use Linux and most free software projects allow donations. I even donated to projects I don't actually use, like FreeBSD. I donated money to many free software projects, Ardour, Mozilla, LibreOffice, OpenBSD, etc. This is clearly a false dichotomy.


Relying on the good will of others does not work, period. The fact that it works sometimes is not something that one can use as the reason to quit their job and start an "endeavor" (you can't really call it a business).

Can we please dispense with this notion and start realizing one simple fact: people will typically only pay for something if you make them pay.


> Can we please dispense with this notion and start realizing one simple fact: people will typically only pay for something if you make them pay.

Things to appear to be changing for the better though. As an examply, Gina Häußge is working full time on OctoPrint (3D printing software) supported entirely by donations:

https://www.patreon.com/foosel

There are probably others too, I'm just not aware of them and have only really started looking at Patreon recently (for a project I'm involved with). :)


Again, donations, etc. may work for some creators, but they will not work for all. There are always going to be products that are "Wow, I'm donating to her !", but the vast majority are more of the "plumbing" variety that are much, much harder to monetize in ways other than "pay me".


You seem to forgot that most independent developers don't make money, period. The fact that your app is open source or not is only marginally related to the fact that it earns you a living. Thousands upon thousands developed applications for desktop or mobile or whatever and simply cant' make end meet. Believing that because your app has a sticker price on it will make you money is an illusion.

I hire some dev interns every year. For the past 5 or 6 years, they all were using Sublime Text as their main editor. And none of them paid it, they simply clicked the nagging dialog away. To all of them I had to explain that it would be fairer either to use a free alternative like Atom or VSCode, or pay the fee (or learn to use a real editor like Vim or Emacs :). People go through incredible pains not to pay, even if your program isn't free. Even if they're programmers, and spend all day using your program.


No, I didn't forget or ignore the fact that a lot of software products fail to make money. I went through several failed software product attempts before building one that stuck, and it's part of the process of getting to know what one's forte is, as well as getting good at running a software company and making money from it.

But, I would seriously argue the proposition that open sourcing one's software does not harm your ability to make money from it. Exhibit A is how often you see a mass of "They want money ? We're switching/forking !!!" type of posts and comments whenever the inevitable "we need to start making money from this project" point hits with an open source project.

As for your example, you're kind of making my point for me. ;-) It's a serious issue, and one that I'm trying to make as much as possible: as software developers, we're seriously harming our own economic well-being as a group by being overly-altruistic and conditioning (what would normally be paying) customers into thinking that our work is without value. It doesn't matter what the reality is, but free=no value in the eyes of consumers.


Any software I have used and found to be a tool I've relied on, I have purchased a licence for at some point in time. Granted this is when I've been comfortable financially. If it comes down to eating or paying for a software license is obvious. But to keep being a tight ass after you're more than able is just crappy. Especially since as a dev you should be able to relate to those dedicated to their craft & realize they too could be struggling financially. I do find smaller orgs more enticing than say a Photoshop license as an example, of the pricing is high for using on occasions. That said being a solely design or front end type that's something you'd use and rely on to make money on. It's really that case (for me at least) if it's used for profit it should be profitable for the creators. However I've also been a musician too who believes strongly on the opposite. Music should be free to individuals and paid for up corporations. The same model is great for open source like redhat (centos) or Magento that offer enterprise license that mean dedicated support. My point being as an individual it's hard to justify at times, but for organizations it should be obvious to licensed.

Having paid for sublime and PHP storm, both have vim modes. But I prefer nano (yes I'm one of those lol ;-) )


Sure. But the original statement was that it does not work. eg 0% success

Whereas clearly it can, as there are the occasional success stories. So, it's more than 0%. Maybe not a high percentage yet though. ;)


Yes, but that statement was followed by more details as to exactly what I meant. A model that only works for a small percentage of people does not work.

My point is that you can't start a business based upon some vague hope that someday, somehow, someone will possibly choose to donate money to you. You need a reliable stream of income, and one that will keep coming long after the shine has worn off the original product and now you're slogging through complicated maintenance and upgrades.

You want to know why the JS ecosystem keeps suffering from the "shiny penny" problem ? This is one of the reasons.


>>My point is that you can't start a business based upon some vague hope that someday, somehow, someone will possibly choose to donate money to you. You need a reliable stream of income, and one that will keep coming long after the shine has worn off the original product and now you're slogging through complicated maintenance and upgrades

What part of that doesn't apply equally proprietary software too?


I see the biggest difference being that with commercial software you know when to stop and move on to something else.


Ahhh. Yeah, now I understand what you mean.

For an already successful OSS project though, it might be a way to turn that into an ongoing income stream to then continue improving the software.


Gina Häußge is the only one making reasonable money on Patron for a software project, last I checked. I exchanged several emails with her about this very topic. Despite her success in fund raising, even she was concerned about the long-term viability of this sort of funding.

I also am the author of an active Open-Source project. I accept donations but they have never amounted to much.


There do seem to be others. The author of Vue.js seems to be doing ok as well:

https://www.patreon.com/evanyou/overview

And yep, I definitely agree. The long term sustainability of projects via Patreon clearly hasn't been established yet.

But, at least some _are+ actually now making decent money, so we can find out how sustainable things are over time.

Hopefully it mostly goes well, but yeah... it's unproven thus far. ;)


Mastodon's main dev too: https://www.patreon.com/mastodon


Sindre Sorhus has a successful Patreon as well:

https://www.patreon.com/sindresorhus

but he's kind of a unicorn (pun intended). I am sure this would not work for everyone.


And $3500 per month is not what a lot (most?) people here would consider a successful financial model even given some consulting etc. on top of that. It depends on where you live of course but bringing in $50K per year (with no benefits) or so in donations is not something a lot of professionals--especially those qualified to work for major software companies--would consider a sustainable income stream.


He looks to be located in Bangkok:

https://github.com/sindresorhus/ama/issues/414#issuecomment-...

The creator of Vue.js (in sibling comment) has a Patreon account with a monthly income of $US15k+ (at time of writing this).

That seems to be more in line with "standard" professional rates. :)


The recurring online payments/donations economy is just starting out. Give it some time to pick up steam and get a better UI, I believe it will become more popular.


Just noticed you're the primary author of CAMotics.

I'd heard of it before, but haven't yet tried it out. I'll try to get time to do so, as I've recently started helping out a different CNC project (github.com/synthetos/g2).

They kind of look like they might complement each other. Not 100% sure yet though. ;)


Yes, I'm friends with the Syntheos guys. It can work with CAMotics. You might also be interested in another project I work on, the Buildbitics Open-Source CNC controller.


Thanks. :)

Looking through the Buildbotics stuff now and some of the video's. Looks nifty!

Is the motion control done by TinyG2 or g2core? If so, would it be ok to add some appropriate links to our "Who uses g2core?" page?

https://github.com/synthetos/g2/wiki/g2core-in-use


Ahhh, looks like something custom instead:

https://github.com/buildbotics/bbctrl-firmware

No worries at all. :)


We did start out using the TinyG firmware but have since replaced it with our own code.


Thibault Duplessis also works full time on lichess.org only with donations.


I have been really surprised with how often she posts Patreon updates! It makes sense now as I didn’t realize she was full time.


In this house I have 2 tablets 2 phones 1 router 1 laptop 2 desktops all running linux it appears to be working for me. This isn't to say that more money for creators wouldn't benefit everyone.


The problem with open source is, for some reason, the developers feel no sense of obligation to the end users or the people who donate to them. MacOS devs do and will go out of their way to make sure their software is not just usable, but a sheer pleasure to use in every way possible. Yes, there are exceptions (I'm looking at you, Apple, with your Xcode and your Finder) but for the most part that's just the way things are in the MacOS app ecosystem.

Open source, on the other hand, is like trying to shave with a razor blade with no handle. It's a hard sell to get people to donate to projects that they know are going to cut them at some point.


> the developers feel no sense of obligation to the end users or the people who donate to them.

An open source project creates no obligation on the part of the developers. Open source licenses explicitly indemnify the authors. Receiving something for free and expecting something more is the essence of the entitled behavior that frustrate and burn out many open source developers.

A donation is a voluntary gift. Like any other gift, a donation to an open source project is understood to have no strings tied to it. Giving a dollar a month to a project doesn't entitle you to round-the-clock support. If you expect something more, have a conversation with the developers to work out a plan.

P.S.: we (https://sheetjs.com/) build and maintain open source projects (our largest is https://github.com/sheetjs/js-xlsx) and we turn down donations precisely because many people expect something in return. Instead, we offer actual paid support plans and additional features.


> An open source project creates no obligation on the part of the developers.

I meant a subconscious obligation, not a legal one. When somebody gives you a gift, it puts pressure on you (subconscious and social) to reciprocate. You see it all the time with youtube streamers, who frequently cater their content to their subscribers wishes to keep them happy. And to clarify, the streamers don't do this because their users are unhappy or protesting. They do it because they feel a sense of obligation to give their subscribers what they want because the subscribers were generous enough to give the streamer money.

For whatever reason, this phenomenon is completely lacking in the open source community. Instead, the opposite seems to occur. OSS developers are actively hostile toward their users, both vocally and how they react to criticism that their software isn't user friendly or respectful of their user's time. Anybody who has spent hours trying to set up a piece of OSS and then made the mistake of asking the developer for help can attest to this.


You're asking the developers to do unpaid tech support for you, while insulting their work. You seem hostile to them, it's no surprise they aren't nice to you.

Most moderate sized projects have at least decent documentations, some channel for support, and there are a range of third party options to consult. The developer generally should not be who you contact.


> For whatever reason, this phenomenon is completely lacking in the open source community. Instead, the opposite seems to occur. OSS developers are actively hostile toward their users, both vocally and how they react to criticism that their software isn't user friendly or respectful of their user's time. Anybody who has spent hours trying to set up a piece of OSS and then made the mistake of asking the developer for help can attest to this.

Not my experience at all. Well sometimes bugs gets closed for no apparent reason etc but I've rarely been shouted at and I think more often than not they try to help.


Your response is the customer relations equivalent to "it works on my machine." Ignoring the problem isn't going to make it go away.


Well; if the difference between my machine and your machine persists in the long run it certainly might be interesting to find the differences that makes it work on my machine.

And - if this approach that you are showing here is representative for how you communicate it might explain a bit ;-)

Edit: and yes, my approach has worked for years so either it is something I do that you don't or I'm just consistently lucky or something :-)


Typical paid proprietary licenses also explicitly indemnify the authors.


A 'donate' button isn't a business model. Some open source projects have a business model built around paid support.

By all means please donate to projects you want to support. But 'donation' implies you aren't getting something in return. Otherwise it would be a 'purchase'.


I have received numerous donations in the past. They were never accompanied by any specific request to fix something or make a feature. So even if I wanted to do something in the software out of a sense of obligation to those users, I would not have known what that is.

Realistically, a $100 donation doesn't get much of my time anyway.

It's more of a pat on the back; people like what you're doing, and the way you're doing it; so keep going. (Don't do anything differently, just more of it.)


I actually find open source developers to be far more passionate about their projects than developers of commercial software. This makes sense to me, as they work on these projects because they want to, not because they have to.


Passion isn't a barometer of anything but whether the developer likes his job. It certainly doesn't translate into better or more user friendly software.


In OSS I tend to see the opposite. The more “passionate” developers tend to be passionate about some implementation detail (like respect for a particular standard, the Unix philosophy, Stallman-compliant licensing, etc) without giving a crap about the actual user experience in day to day usage.

I see more passion in paid software in macOS when I see a beautiful UI because it shows that the developer actually wants me to use and enjoy his creation day to day.


It is more that well run project has testers and analyst and manager that will open tickets for what you are not passionate about and missed. So, you have to fix it whether passionate or not, it is more about result then whether you feel like doing it.

Then, there are also badly run commetial projects, which are crap despite being paid for.


Passionate about making the installation process seamless on every distro? And all the other mundane, tedious tasks that are expected by users used to commercial software?

My OSS project, which I haven’t worked on in ages to be fair, I never made any effort to make it work anywhere but on Debian for example. I know some people used it in Suse and RHEL so it can’t have been too painful but I never had that as a goal.


This is the other issue with 'linux on the desktop'. The linux desktop is massively fragmented. Notably this goes for desktop environments and package managers.

This makes it hard to target 'linux' in general with polished software. The issue of package managers seems on its way to being solved by containers. However, the issue of desktop environments is much more thorny. As you can't really abstract away the metaphors with which a user communicates with his PC.


Depends on the individual I guess. :)

Years ago, I went through a phase getting the installer working well (cross platform) for a PostgreSQL replication project. FreeBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, RHEL, ... there might have been others too, it was a long time ago. ;)


The problem with passion that it may not be focused to what the end users might most need.

Think about OSS software you've written and contributed to. 99% of time it is to scratch your own programmer centric itch.

Usability usually takes a backseat in OSS model as not many usability experts are working for free.

Same goes for documentation. It is autodoc or nothing.


> The problem with open source is, for some reason, the developers feel no sense of obligation to the end users or the people who donate to them.

I always go out of my way to help users who showed gratitude to me, either with a donation (those are very rare) or by being extra nice to me last time I helped them.

But obviously, users who insult my software and myself every time they have an issue come last on my list of priorities.


> The problem with open source is, for some reason, the developers feel no sense of obligation to the end users

This is as much true as it is for developers of proprietary software.

There are many examples on both sides that make your statement false, also as many to make it true.


"Open source, on the other hand, is like trying to shave with a razor blade with no handle. It's a hard sell to get people to donate to projects that they know are going to cut them at some point."

This sounds whiny and more importantly it isn't true its hard to get people to pay for things that they can have for free full stop.

Don't make things more complicated than they are.


I would say the blade analogy is fairly correct.

OSS isn't polished many times. The installer might be missing. Documentation is out of date or incomplete. The plug-in manager requires using the file system explorer directly.

All of that cuts. OSS can be death by a thousand cuts at times.


> This sounds whiny

Are you an OSS developer by chance?

> its hard to get people to pay for things that they can have for free full stop.

The Apple third party app ecosystem proves you wrong. Users are willing to pay for good software, even if there are free alternatives available.


You failed to prove me wrong or in fact to understand the point I was making.

People are disinclined to fund open source projects that they can get for free.

If you rely on voluntary donations you will find yourself poor.

They may be willing to pay for value added only if getting something for nothing isn't an option.


> You failed to prove me wrong or in fact to understand the point I was making.

Then communicate your point better. Losing the hostility would be a great start.


Speaking of exceptions to this...they really need to fix their damn multi monitor support. It’s one of the few things Windows is far better at. I get that a small number of Mac users are even affected by this, but man would I appreciate that a lot more than Dark Mode. And I love Dark Mode.


What issues have you experienced with their multimonitor support?


It takes a long time to wake from sleep, sometimes over 30 seconds with monitors flickering on and off. Which monitor displays which desktop will change after unplugging and plugging back in, or even after sleeping and waking back up.


I've had issues on this with windows when using DisplayPort Daisy chaining. Now I've switched to using separate cables.

The point being that anecdotally, windows doesn't have it down either.


I believe part of my issue might be that I'm using 1 HDMI port and another mDP to HDMI converter. From what I've read it seems like people tend to have these problems when using converters. So I guess if I were running directly off of mDP I'd probably be having a better time.


turn spaces on


The things that people choose to pay money for, in software, drive an incentive system that results in polished user experiences.

The things that people choose to donate for, in software, drive an incentive system that results in ever-increasing code quality and security and a bunch of other things that developers themselves care about, and feel that users should care about, but which don't actually affect application polish very much.

It's not even down to the companies choosing to do this or that with your money. It's a response to incentives. They know that, under a paid model, they'll keep getting money only if they do X; and under a donation model, they'll keep getting money if only they do Y. And so they prioritize X, or they prioritize Y, regardless of which one they think should be prioritized.

If you want X from your software, you should advocate for an ecosystem of paid software businesses. If you want Y from your software, you should advocate for an ecosystem of donation-supported software organizations.

If you want both... I'm not sure. Maybe support both ecosystems, and encourage the donation-driven organizations to put their work into "cores" or "engines" that can be wrapped into polished experiences by the paid companies?


Try to pay for a mortgage with donations.


99% of paid apps developers can't make end meet anyway. Another false dichotomy. Creating an app and sticking a price on it isn't a business model any more than creating an app and asking for donations. Both are almost certain failure. But people constantly hear about this guy or that company that made some huge success and became rich; nobody talks about the millions who failed and whose apps were simply forgotten.

Oh, and BTW, the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, Greenpeace and many other NGOs live, AFAIK, mostly on donations. So that definitely can pay the bills, but the same reasoning applies: it's only true for a small minority, and you can't count on it.


> Oh, and BTW, the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, Greenpeace and many other NGOs live, AFAIK, mostly on donations.

They do, but they also get sponsoring from many governments across the globe, do continuous street actions trying to get people to donate for them´, and after a certain age most people end up leaving to some positions with more stability.


These are already supported by corporations. They pay millions vs your handful of dollars.


> It is waaaay more efficient for these to be fixed by an engineer working not in their spare time, but as their full-time job.

You miss the possibility of simply offering to pay a developer with the relevant expertise to fix one of these bugs for you.

I can tell you from experience that there are FLOSS developers out there with sufficient expertise and professionalism to do this.


If I'm running an enterprise, perhaps then I can budget enough time and money to communicate about and pay for that and deal with the uncertainty inherent in software schedules.

In my personal life...that sounds like a stressor that I'd be willing to pay money to avoid.


Sure but this sounds like an opportunity for something like “Uber for FLOSS support.” Or perhaps it would be more like OkCupid.

But you could pay money and your FLOSS problems get researched and solved for you by a developer who is experienced in this area.

In practice I can see this as a forum where people make minimal effort posts and skilled people give them quality support. Just as I was forming the previous sentence I realize Stack Overflow and Reddit kind of do this. Maybe it would just be nice if people found a good way to add payment to the process.

Anyway, it’s not as nice as not having the bugs in the first place, but FLOSS has other advantages. There will continue to be people who choose commercially supported software, but the more we can close the gap on quality with FLOSS the better.


This has existed for a while: https://www.bountysource.com/

It hasn't been a tremendous success story so far - but these things take time.


That's different. I'm talking about participating as a user in a FLOSS mailing list, getting to know the people involved, then asking one of the devs if they can fix a bug or add a feature for you in exchange for money.


The issue is that even if he managed to find a good developer to pay to improve some FLOSS software, it would come out very expensive in the end, first because the UI frameworks & libraries you get in the Linux world are nowhere near what you get on macOS, so the developer will require more time, and also because you won’t be selling that software later on to make any kind of money back since it’s FLOSS, and even when it’s proprietary and not FLOSS, the potential market for Linux software (let alone paid Linux software) is very small.


Hmmm, that seems to forget that there's a large amount of Open Source software available on macOS too. :)

With the UI frameworks and libraries, what's your take on things like Qt then, which is cross platform and pretty decent for developers? At least the C++ ones anyway. :)


Yes but keep in mind people who work on FLOSS are interested in it for more than money, so the person being paid may be willing to work for a little less (or invest more time) knowing that the work that they do is helping FLOSS. So both people can share the cost burden here. We are talking about two people passionate about FLOSS that one is using it despite the problems (and willing to pay) and one has taken it upon themselves to learn how to fix it.


I could be wrong here, but as I recall, there's a psychological effect where an offer of money can reduce the value a developer assigns to their own at-will effort because it shifts the paradigm from noble to economic ends.


> In my personal life...that sounds like a stressor that I'd be willing to pay money to avoid.

Exactly, and a single citizen typically doesn't have the means to commission a software project, or even non-trivial fixes to an existing software project.


Expect 500 euros per day for a cheap developer in Eastern Europe. Maybe similar for Indian outsourcing or Latin American.

Expect over a 1000 dollars per day for a qualified developer in a first world location.

Point being. No individual can pay that much and the develop should rather get a day job unless the software has high earning potential.


Which developer in a first world country has 30k a month in salary? $1000 a day is beyond ridiculous!


For a qualified contractor? $100 per billable hour is extremely reasonable. They're not on the clock all the time. When I did consulting work (not writing software but tech-related) I charged way more than that although it was usually based on jobs rather than hours.

ADDED: And, if you're contracting through a larger firm, they're adding various overheads associated with managing the project, etc.


They are standard rates for contracting and outsourcing firms.

500 euro a day is about 100k a year, accounting for 200 work days in a year.

Remove the margin of the firm, pension, healthcare, sick leave, company taxes, office costs, benefits... and what's left is the gross salary.


> No individual can pay that much and the develop should rather get a day job

You could create a cooperative of users that hires one or two developers to work for all of them.


this is probably not too dissimilar from starting a business that grows a collection of users willing to pay fees to receive custom patches / support for the open source software


What in the... You could donate to the FSF, OSI, or directly to the developers of most projects. Did you even bother looking?


If you donate, there's no guarantee that everyone else is donating. So you end up supporting the free riders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-rider_problem). Which is a disincentive to donate.


I conducted dozens of software evaluation and procurement rounds for a ${BIGCORP}

One of the factors that made FOSS much more promotable was a sticker-price for acquisition and / or support. The actual amount didn't matter, psychologically though it needed to show that it had 'worth'. Ifnitnwas free, the business was worried thatvit was just someone's weekend hack. If it cost $5 per user then it was great value.

Not once did anyone raise the free-rider problem when we paid for FOSS. Frankly businesses are so focused on getting stuff done internally that the fact that someone else might indirectly benefit is irrelevant.


That problem seems to me like it isn't telling a whole story. There have always been free riders of many kinds in society. But society isn't built around a single variable. People who get a free ride in some way often are supporting other free riders in other enterprises.

Basically if you are strict about trying to eliminate all free riders, you're going to break society in a vain effort to maximize fairness in lieu of effectiveness. Society works because everyone assumes that even if some things are unfair, most will manage and the ups and downs will average out over time.

In the example given on the wiki page, people who swoop in and take the last minutes left on a parking meter that someone else paid for but didn't stay long enough to use are supposedly able to break the system. But I think that trying to lock the system down tight and completely prevent that behavior could feasibly be more damaging to the health of the system than simply tolerating it as an occasional but mostly harmless exploit.

There's a few studies which show that some piracy and other free usage might actually help an industry's profits. Key word is "some"--there is obviously a threshold past which would become very damaging. But nonetheless, if one can set aside their outrage over unfairness (which is very understandable for somebody who has poured their life and soul into working on an IP or paid a lot to license it legitimately) then one can probably stand to benefit even from the thieves and freeloaders if they manage it correctly. https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/06/13/does-onlin...


No, you support the person you donate to. That the "free-riders" are supported too is only a secondary thing. The main aim of FOSS is to share intellectual effort with the world anyways.


I am well aware I can do that. But I don't have enough money to ensure that there is enough donation to ensure that there is enough support for those working on the projects to focus on it full time. The systems-level change of allowing developers to use copyright to require people to pay for their work comes much closer to ensuring that.

> "did you even bother looking?"

Also, when someone is building a product for money, it incentivizes them to proactively look for feedback on the quality of their product and to value the feedback of frustrated users. When someone is building a product without a business goal focused on pleasing someone else, they are far more likely to be either passive in waiting for people to report things on mailing lists or to be actively annoyed with the reports and to occasionally express that frustration in a way that belittles users.


> When someone is building a product without a business goal focused on pleasing someone else, they are far more likely to be either passive in waiting for people to report things on mailing lists or to be actively annoyed with the reports and to occasionally express that frustration in a way that belittles users.

This seems (to me) like a cultural thing. In this instance, by "cultural" I'm meaning it depends on the culture of the Open Source project.

Many projects do seem to have developers that aren't really hmm... "user friendly" might be correct description. But not ever project is like that.

The PostgreSQL, SQLite, and DB Browser for SQLite Communities are all pretty user friendly.

As in, it's pretty rare to see a display of bad attitude towards someone reporting a bug, asking a simple question, or doing pretty much anything else in good faith.


With the exception of bounties, donations do not translate to fixing an obscure big or adding a feature. I’ve even had some features which I’ve implemented fail to make it into the upstream because it’s not the way the maintainer(s) would have implemented it, despite it being highly requested and following their development patterns as much as possible.

The attitude in the opensource community about pull requests and donations is sometimes frustrating when you realize that a contribution you’ve made may never benefit the community.


A donation doesn’t reasonably entitle you to expect anything. A purchase does


Does it? In either case the code is already written. Your payment doesn't mean there will be new features.


For many businesses, and at universities (where I work), there isn't an easy way to donate, particularly to random people.

However, it would be easy for me to spend, say £50-£100, for a support licence for software I frequently use.

I would love it if Microsoft added this to GitHub -- opt in of course.


This logic is flawed. FOSS software doesn't need to equal software that no one pays for. You want to support FOSS development? There are tons of projects which take financial support, feel free to contribute. You can also support companies which directly work on developing FOSS.


This only makes sense for software that you use frequently and don't mind repurchasing everytime Apple breaks them with OSX upgrades.




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