But I just. can't. stop.
I can't. I've tried suppressing the urge to create, but I just can't do it. Ideas, challenges, problems, unmet potential, are everywhere, and I can't unsee them. On many days I despair that I won't live long enough to build even a tiny fraction of the things I see in my mind. It's infuriating!
And so I do my best to keep my focus small. I have a full time job, so I try to keep my extracurricular coding down to at the very most 3 hours a day if I can, but my idea list just keeps on growing faster than I can keep up.
I keep thinking that maybe I'll calm down as I get older, but I started at 8, and I'm 44 now. If I had no financial pressure at all, I'd be doing this stuff all day. The only difference would be that I'd burn through my list faster.
But long story short, don't write OSS for money. Have a full time job and do OSS on the side.
I've received some donations, but nothing that could pay for anything significant, but I don't really see the donations as something that might eventually pay, but instead I see them as "thank you for the work", which is always appreciated.
However, I have seen some upsides, which are hard to put a dollar value on:
* Found staff for my company
* Been asked to be a technical proofer on a Manning book
* Made great connections with smart people
* A powerful sense that I'm contributing to humanity (even if it's in a relatively small way), rather than just being a consumer
There are probably other things that I've forgotten, but there's more value to OSS than just cash.
If you really want to stop, well, I can tell you what worked for me. :/ Basically, burn out on it. Leverage that despair to turn aside. Increase it by focusing on things whose absence badly harm people, but where external constraints make progress largely intractable. Unripe fruit; unproductive research career planning. This degrades the reinforcement of little successes. Disengage from the list. Make it something that hurts to look at; don't review it; touch it less often; set it aside; forget it. Keep two or three open-ended and intractable projects around to serve as distraction from the rest. Incrementally pull back on seeing opportunities. Sort of a twisted mindfulness: see them swarm by; acknowledge them; let them go; forget them. With time, they become less in-your-face noticeable. Let's see... Make supporting past work a resented burden. Have stuff you enjoy doing and "care about" to absorb the displaced attention and effort. And so forth. Attack the system. So the hose can be turned off. Or at least down to dribbles. Just perhaps be clear on what you hope to accomplish by doing so. "This hurts so I want it to stop" is perhaps an insufficiently nuanced objective. FWIW.
I've noticed that the ones that got traction/stars/forks were entirely unexpected and started as one hour hackjobs (ex-mode for Atom, trim_patcher, 1st gen Xbox One controller kext, Matterfront) whereas the ones I just can't let go and pour genuine long term effort into are the ones getting zero stars/forks (ArchMac is like 12 years now and I'm still the sole user).
Not that I care, I'll just keep on scratching my own itches, and I learned a lot (and still do!) doing that.
When you're a creative person, you're like a tree : you bear fruits whatever you do, you just can't help it :-) (I took that sentence from a presentation online, somewhere on youtube)
I could never imagine working on a side project while having a full-time job. That will inevitably mean you are doing neither of these things well.
It's just what I like to do... but one day, I do want to start my own company out of one of these projects... I know one of them is being used by a large train company in Europe and a local government in the US (because they wrote to me asking for help with issues! so government-y, write an email instead of opening a GH issue). But unfortunately it's not a project I currently have interest in working on (it's like 5 years old, uses tech I haven't used basically since then)...
But my reason for wanting to start a company is just so I have freedom to work for myself, not feel like a slave sometimes (well paid one, but still!) more than anything else.
I admire the OP for doing that and even getting his girlfriend and another developer on board! Good on him!
And indeed, I never got or even tried to make money out of it. I already fell kind of a moral obligation to answer to tickets, sometimes emails, and exceptionally phone calls (actually happened only once), if someone gave me money for a project I would feel even more morally obligated, so that's why I don't even try. Also, my projects don't exactly have a success in the thousands of starts and users, so it's kind of hopeless.
However, contrary to you, I'm far less active in the last few years (contrib per years, 2014: 491, 2015: 1228, 2016: 1095, 2017: 646, 2018: 225, 2019: 288).
Basically, I lost a good chunk of my motivation, not sure why however. Either I grew tired of it, or my current job (since 2016) drain me of my motivation, or seeing tickets accumulating in my half abandoned projects discourage me, half thinking, "let not create another ticket generator" and "I should really fix this project before starting that new project... (and in the end doing none of those)".
It's not the lack of ideas, I have actually a few from small to quite big:
* web ui in JS to calculate production in Hearts of Iron IV (actually started that one, and also a good opportunity to learn frontend development)
* a dead simple and as transparent as possible artifact manager
* a small daemon to name your NIC because it's on a given network (think servers with several NICs and dedicated prod/admin/backup networks, it would far nicer to have them named eth-prod/eth-admin/eth-backup instead of eth0/eth1/eth2 (and sometimes eth1/enp0s3/eth0 because this special duck is wired differently).
* a C clipping library (I need one for a current project).
* a tsdb taking ideas from rrdtool, like fixe size DB, values computed at insert time, reducing resolution as time passes, round robin, with meta data like the unit attached to the metric, with a network endpoint, and some support for a multi-node setup, all that written in Rust (because I don't know the language yet).
After full time at work, gym, any real life tasks I need to attend (groceries, eating, bills, cleaning, etc...) it can be rather difficult and feels like starting a large project (or any) is hopeless (relatively for a single person in their spare time) or maybe intimidating.
Could you perhaps share some of your tips and wisdom as you are now older on how and when you started habitually doing this and how you keep up the energy and motivation? I'm surely not the only one interested in anything you can inspire with.
I have many ideas I want to start and I am excited about. Often I just do not know where to even start. Especially with limited time.
You also need to set aside some down time, where you literally make a point of not doing anything useful for awhile.
I made a habit of optimizing my chores to give more opportunities to think. Sometimes the solution was to devise a better process. Sometimes it was batching many things together. Sometimes I'd need to invest in some gadgetry. Think of chores as unoptimized code.
For example, I bought a deep freeze and a vacuum sealer so that I could buy in bulk, and also prepare meals in bulk, then keep them in the deep freeze. Vacuum sealed (in a vacuum chamber based sealer), they last up to 2 years. I lived in a very rural location for a few years, so I got good at keeping track of what staples and foods to buy when. Frozen vegetables are usually fresher than "fresh" in the store. I also made my own bread in a bread maker. It's a lot of up-front setup, but once you're in the swing of it, it's basically max 2h per week of preparation for a whole lot of convenience. I'd also bake up a good selection of meals in bulk that I'd keep in the freezer and heat up in a sous vide cooker (for days when I was feeling lazy).
Eating right is essential. Poor diet ruins your thinking ability. Processed carbs are the worst.
I do my workout at home. That's not for everyone, because often you want the camaraderie. I prefer to be focused when doing a workout, so doing it at home works well. My workout is mostly body weight based. I used to box, so I stuck to the most efficient methods to maintain a boxing physique. My equipment is a chair, a floor mat, a walker, free weights from 1lb to 5lb, a pull up bar, a heavy bag, and good running shoes. Each day I do a 1h workout for a particular group (legs, core, arms, cardio, yoga, shadow boxing) which works out to once a week for each type.
I live in a major metro area, so working out in my condo isn't an option and I do like getting out since I live alone (I go every day). I pick up what I need at the store when I walk home from the gym. It's an extra 10 minutes maybe. I keep my diet simple, meat, veggies, eggs, not much more and I don't eat any processed foods. My only chores are keeping my condo picked up instead of a mess of a bachelor pad, which it is in right now (har har).
Right now I'm trying to plan out my first side project in a while since job interviewing/preparation really burnt me out.
Glad I'm not the only one in that boat. If it matters I'm 38 now.
But yeah, I get that.
This is exactly how I am, too. I maintain a list of ideas of useful applications that I could build, particularly in the education space. I cannot stop coming up with f/oss ideas and I will not have the time to finish most of them.
It's human nature to create and to want to help others.
Even better would be to work part time for sufficient money (if possible) and have more time for personal projects, no?
Why not? I'd prefer working with OSS for money over proprietary products.
Big companies have an Open Source Program Office (OSPO) where community / OSS skills and licensing knowledge mean you can help the company both consume OSS and contribute back to it.
But still, it's something else to say
"OSS doesn't make money" (which is controversial, if not wrong)
"OSS doesn't make money if you don't have enough time to build the side services and market it because of lack of time meanwhile maintain[ing] a job"
(which most can agree with)
However, what gives open source value is that a project with 10,000 Github stars looks very good on a resume. That doesn’t matter now, where pretty much any programmer can get a good job, but it will matter after the current economic expansion stops and we are in the next recession.
I got not one, but two job offers in the middle of 2010, during a very tough recession, because of my somewhat notable open source project. My open source project allowed me to keep my skills current while I was living in Mexico as an English teacher and professional translator.
To this day, in job interviews, it allows me to demonstrate I was still working on computers and with technology after the dot-com bubble crashed.
The important thing to keep in mind is that users are not customers until they pay for the code. If they don’t like the fact you won’t implement their favorite pet feature request, you can give them a full refund, which won’t cost you anything. Never let your users cause you stress.
You mean 2001? The dot-com bubble happened then, yet you write about 2010 which could be a recession year in some countries from 2008?
I do think you mean 2001, not entirely sure though.
Say that to the top contributors of https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin
It is kind of shitty to do that. Why not just archive the repo and add a note to the README that you've turned it into non-free software? At least that way you don't break the main link to the project or remove all the content from the issue tracker. This is a project that other people have contributed work to, so it's rude to just destroy that.
The most recent fork I can find is here: https://github.com/kuldeepkeshwar/sizzy
People who have relatively limited amounts of money (eg anyone who isn't a millionaire) will always want to keep their money if they don't have to spend it so you need to give them a truly compelling reason to spend if you want to make money. Just writing an app, even a useful one, isn't enough.
> Selling a piece of software, regardless of whether or not you also give away the source, is really hard.
Completely agree, if 1% of your users give a crap that you've engineered magic to get XYZ working, you're lucky.
99% don't care, but they'll use your product if it comes up on Google's first page, if it has a decent social media presence and they're hooked from one of your posts/blogs about it.
If you're building a product right now, and you've not written various posts about "How ABC solves your XYZ problem", welcome to the low-user zone.
Launching onto Product Hunt is not enough anymore. Get talking about you work, if you're genuinely proud of it.
Curiously, that's mostly not the case on the backend - Django, RoR, Express, were all created by individuals or small companies.
Folks keep conflating these things. Sometimes we wanna code, no problem, code! if you feel like sharing, share! Expect nothing! If you feel your code deserves more and wish to turn it into a project, cool! Projects require much more time and effort to maintain. With a project, figure out what you want. Recognition? High usage? Job offers? Whatever it is, it can't be money. If you wish to get money, then you must turn it into a Business. Don't expect millions!
It's a business after all, not a startup. but that's another discussion.
It's worse than that, people don't value it very highly if it's free.
Really, what would happen if it became a for profit product? Would I pay for access to the greatest single repository of information the world has ever seen? Or would I shrug my shoulder and let Google tell me that I actually meant to query something else, and trust that the top placed link is really the best?
Wikipedia is already monetized, but not like most platforms:
How many times have you actually clicked the "donate" button when Jimmy Wales asks you to?
It's still interesting to note that the Wikimedia Foundation is getting more cash in donations than it requires to operate. If it wasn't a non-profit, it would actually turn out a profit.
Both of which are probably on the low end of what the content is worth.
When you really think about it, we write off free access to the largest repository of information ever as something which just happens to exist.
It is happening with me right now. I am searching for a Jekyll theme, and there are a bunch of free ones, but because time is money I will only try the paid ones.
Mobile app stores are a cesspool of terrible ideas and naive people who think if only they give away their time developing free software some company will notice and bless them with a job. The few gems to be found are a stark contrast.
The problem with these proposals is that it creates an unequal relationship; some developers have more rights just because they started the project, even if others have contributed significantly.
My intent is to go for full-on AGPLv3 and not accept PRs initially. If someone sees a bug they can tell me "if these options are picked there is an infinite loop" or "you've missed input sanitisation here" and I'll put together a fix for it. That way all the code is mine, I have full control, and I don't have to worry about treading on someone else's toes if I relicense later. When/if I later decide upon a more permissive license, or to try monetise through commercial licensing, or if I chose another route entirely, then changing will be frictionless.
In the meantime anyone wanting to work on it themselves because I'm too slow, they don't want to work my way, or "just because", are free to fork (assuming they are happy with AGPL), or contact me to negotiate other terms, or write something themselves from scratch to deal with the itch (again: these are not Big Things, I certainly don't expect to be releasing the NextBigThing™).
What's commercial use? Creative Commons has been messing around with this question for something like decade and has never come to a resolution.
So, sure, advocate for changes to the open source definition if you like. But there are reasons that a lot of people are resistant.
You can always release your software under the AGPL (which is an OSI-approved license)--which would effectively prohibit its use by cloud providers. Probably very few others will use it either but that's the tradeoff you make.
But I know other people who think that using NC content even on a personal blog that uses Adwords is a strict no-go. Or you try to define NC in terms of US tax code which is fraught for a lot of reasons.
ADDED: Personally I think the latest round of the licensing wars is overblown. If you want to use a more restrictive license, go for it. Just don't expect the development model benefits of open source software. Of course, most open source doesn't reap those benefits either because vibrant communities are relatively rare.
Edit: and another question alltogether is whether it's going to work well against FAANG with nearly unlimited cash to employ hordes of lawyers
Off the top of my head: Newsblur, Bitwarden and Standard Notes, services I pay for, for one because I like to support open source, but also because I'm not in the mood of hosting them myself. I'm also evaluating Wallabag.
These examples are of web apps that require hosting, self hosting is a pain, so I prefer to just pay for it. And I did give up on 1Password for Bitwarden, because I'd rather support open source stuff, in spite of the former being superior.
The author's article is however correct in saying that donations don't work. I too have thousands of stars collected on GitHub and I barely got donations for hosting the documentation websites.
In order to make money:
1. you have to ask for it
2. people need to get some value out of that payment and this means creating scarcity
With the online services I mentioned, what I'm paying for is the hosting and I'm happy to do it.
Went through the same cycle, of first releasing an open source software that had donation support. Gathered an user base over many years, at max I was receiving maybe 500 - 800 USD in donations over a year, after working on the software like 3 years.
Was really reluctant to make the software a commercial version, because I was limited in my thinking that software should be available for anyone to use. You can't make a living out of that, except in some very rare cases.
Once we launched a commercial version of our software (https://OmniGeometry.com), got a lot of backslash from users complaining about the price not being free anymore, and actually we priced the software lot higher than people usually do, but we are implementing something that fills a very specific niche, where we have almost no competition.
As a result of that, we are now actually making money that can support the continuing development of the software and can support our two man team as creators. To be honest I am surprised that we managed to do that, but are very happy about it of course.
I agree with what is written in the article:
"Don’t let anyone tell you how much you should charge for your work"
Writing software can be very difficult and complex, and usually takes many years to reach anything usable and even then it is a risk if it will become anything that people will use.
Almost certainly you will receive hateful or resentful messages from people if you are charging for your work, as on some levels they would like to use your software, but would like it to be free also, so they just lash out at you for not making it free.
Something just have to get used to when selling software these days it seems. If people had any idea how much skills and dedication it requires to even be able to write usable software, maybe they would agree that paying for example 200 usd for a software package that will give you possibly hundreds of hours of entertainment is a good investment.
Feel free to ignore the choosingbeggars who are after freebies, but pricing is a dark art, and IMO when making the leap to charging money for things you've built, it seems way more common to undercharge, especially for apps like Sizzy made by perfectionists.
Patio11's article on SaaS app pricing: https://training.kalzumeus.com/newsletters/archive/saas_pric...
But what about those who went ahead, uploaded their code for free and launched new companies, thanks to the support/popularity received from users of their free code.
Such people minted millions or even billions which they could have never been able to achieve in their lifetime charging normal rates for programming.
You want to be part of a lottery promising big bucks but not happy because not everyone gets suitable payout. Congrats! you discovered how lottery works.
And now you want a payout which helps you pay rent? Such jobs exist, but you might have to write boring code.
- Commercial licensing (the library is GPL) occasionally gets me a few bucks, but isn't a reliable source of income.
- Consulting on custom integrations/tweaks has been slightly better, but in general it's a simple library that's well documented and easy to use, so there isn't much need for this.
It became pretty obvious after I launched the project that my primary audience wasn't developers who could consume a JS library, it was designers. I wound up building a productized UI , and I've been experimenting with
- making money via donations (abysmal)
- ethical non-tracking advertising (low conversion rate, people hit the tool to accomplish a task, not click ads)
- and lately, paid functionality (so far, this has been the most successful approach)
I think that the skillset for developing a good and useful piece of OSS and the skillset for monetizing it are almost completely orthogonal - it would be really great if there was a way to make decent income off an open-source project without building a flashy website, learning basic marketing, getting in bed with advertising companies, etc etc. Unfortunately, the above seems to be what the market cares about.
Interesting, can you share a bit more detail? Not asking for customer names or anything, but curious what kind of customer is interested in stuff like this enough to buy consulting for it)
That said, on the surface point about making money directly from open source, I'd just like to chip in with my own perspective that wasn't really covered in the article (it's a different type of thing).
In the article the author is talking about building a complete, functional product and open sourcing it, and how that means users are very unlikely to pay (donate) cash to the author. This is 100% accurate, and the point is very well made (again, seriously, read this article, it's great).
I've put out a few libraries and tools on my github (i.e. not full products, but smaller component parts others can build products from), mostly to solve my own problems, and have the source easily available and properly licensed to reuse between projects. And hey, if someone else finds them useful, great. This is pretty important - I did this for my own benefit, and I get this benefit regardless of if anyone else stars or uses the repos.
Most of these repos, that's exactly what happened, 1 or 2 stars at best, only I use them. But one of them, react-frontload , actually took off because it turned out to be useful for quite a lot of people. Now, the reason for writing and open sourcing that library was the same as all the others. I don't expect, need or frankly even particularly want people to donate money for me to work on that. Any time I invest in improving it pays off anyway, because I use it.
But what has happened because of my work on that library is I've had people contacting me for contracting work integrating it into their product, general job offers, meetup talks, etc etc. So in a way, it has actually led to opportunities for making money, more or less directly. As in, had I not open sourced that, none of these things would have happened.
Just to add that point to the discussion here: whilst you definitely shouldn't expect to make direct money from open source, especially via donations, you absolutely can find it opening doors to opportunities and making money in other ways. But even then, that shouldn't be your motivation going in. I suspect if it were, you might have a lot lower chance of it happening as a result, ironically.
However, being a published author builds credibility in a lot of respects whether it's within many large companies or doing consulting/etc. work.
ADDED: I've written a few books. I've made no money off them (to a first approximation relative to everything else). But they've been immensely valuable in other respects.
How long do people think this subscription thing will last? "It's cheaper per month than one Starbucks coffee" stops working when you have to pay for 100+ Starbucks coffees per month... and then the subscription bubble will crash.
Maybe the app in TFA is one too, it does need constant updating because the browser is a moving target right now.
However that doesn't go for the other 3 million productivity apps that want a subscription.
You are correct that as the number of subscriptions continues to proliferate we will at some point hit subscription saturation, but luckily, with most subscriptions it's as easy to unsubscribe as get started in the first place.
From an HR perspective, I'm sure organizations are already feeling this pain as they look at all of their different teams and the amount of money they are paying for subscriptions.
Otherwise, when there are many more issues than users, particularly users who aren't capable or willing to fix them, then it's just a few developers working their skin off to pull the project, and that requires a more direct form of compensation.
Not sure if you are cynical of sincere, either way, if the library devs get 47 cent from every donation driven program that relies on them, this could add up to some nice sum.
I know there are ways of doing this today, but if it's not super frictionless and integrated into the platform, it's less likely to happen
I wonder if that will create some perverse incentives? Will people be as willing to contribute significantly to projects if they know the maintainer is making $1000s and they're getting nothing. Or will they instead rather try to start their own competing project in hopes of capturing some of that revenue.
I think managing the direction and budgets of open source projects that have many contributors in a fair, effective way is a really interesting problem. There are some blockchain DAO projects where this is handled by voting. Each participant's vote could be weighted by different things - contribution activity, seniority within the project, more traditional board/council structure, whatever. The voting results can also be automatically executed.
Or you could pre-determine and automate how funds will be paid out to contributors - ie. bounties for new features/fixing bugs
Donating money is always incredibly tricky if you work at a larger company, especially if you get nothing in return. I can a buy a license or support contract easily, with a bit more effort I could probably sponsor a local FOSS meetup/event. But just giving someone $50 as a thanks for writing that software we rely on, is basically impossible unless I just pay it out of pocket.
Who decides where the funds get spent, how to automate some of it etc
It's no surprise that offering your product for free won't make you much money.
When you're the only user of your app it's fun, you can deploy easily, maybe prod is also your staging env ... You can afford to screw up your database etc. If you have users you now have to be careful, if your deployment fails the downtime becomes a mental burden, you have to manage backups etc.
Maintaining an open source project is also a lot of work. Issues piling on, Pull requests to review, which are not that more fun at home than at work. If you ignore them you start to feel guilty. If you lose interest or have no need for the project anymore you'll feel guilty as well.
Anecdotal evidence, my father have made an open ESP*-based webradio. Somehow it got popular (especially in Eastern Europe for some reason). It's fun, people sending you photos of their finished projects etc but then requests for features you don't care for start piling on, you have more bug to fix.
He has a donation button and he could monetize more but he's retired and doesn't really care about money, he just wants to have fun making something and the success is a double-edged sword in that regard.
A few months later, our project is well known by major banks here and it became clear that my startup excels in software. The first thing we say when discussing with a client our offer is that the whole system is free and open source and they can copy-paste it without our help. And that turned out to be very great as many of our customers had vendor-locks before.
The thing I’m actively developing our core business in Github and quite happy with its evolution. It received a small amount of stars (like 9 or something), but I really didn’t expect any stars nor direct users contribution anyway. And it helped us a lot in building our reputation as a FOSS startup and it will also contribute to my teams resume.
I created gitingore.io about 8 years ago and it's almost at 5000 stars. I had nearly 100k MAU's and that was still not enough to survive. My customers included developers form top tech startups and major companies in the world but the product was free. I ended up selling it so I can re-focus on something more valuable.
I started working on the landing page, but ended up working on a React library for making landing pages (maybe I’ll release it one sunny day)
Or imagine entering a supermarket and starting to yell at the cashier “WHAT?! THIS MILK IS 3$? DO YOU KNOW THAT ON THE OTHER END OF TOWN I CAN GET THIS FOR 2.5$? I CAN EVEN BUY MY OWN COW, RAISE IT, MILK IT EVERY DAY, AND DRINK MILK FOR FREE!11!”.
I died. :D
It is the "fair publishing edition", a system of publishing a work in a way that is fair both for the author and for the users. The author get paid an amount that is proportionate to the amount and value of its work and the users gets a fair value in return from their money.
The principle is simple, the author publish a work and decide a fixed amount of money that he judge correct as a fair total reward for his work. In turn the people that begin to buy the product pay only a small quota of this amount and the more people buy the product the smaller gets the amount. If the product becomes successful eventually the entire amount of money will be paid and the product will become free for everyone.
A detail, the first people will pay a larger amount of the latest people and this is a little bit unfair. Yet this is a minor problem that can be fixed by not making the payment immediate and when other people buy the product the payment of the first people will be reduced. In this way the problem will not disappear but it can be smoothed so that it will become more acceptable.
The faire publishing edition can be applied to any product that is trivially copiable, so for things like books, software, games, movies etc.
Each product launch will be caraterized by the amount requested and by a paying time which is roughly the time the author estimate to complete the payment of the product.
Note how this is much better than the current situation: free software authors doesn't get any reward for their work. It is unfair for the authors! At the other side traditional editor get indefinitely paid for a work, doesn't matter how much money they have already collected. It is unfair for the users!
If some people want to help me to kick-start this project, hey, just make me a message! :-)
> But the factory lector didn’t have Medium and Hacker News to tell him every single day that the radio is coming to take his job.
My thoughts: Who reads Medium everyday?
> Sizzy got 2352 upvotes on Product Hunt. It was the product of the day, the product of the week, and third product of the month.
My thoughts: Who uses Product Hunt? Who cares about Product Hunt upvotes?
Also, the other day, Korean Github users started complaining about some company "cheating" to get Github stars. My thought: who the hell cares about Github stars?
Am I the odd one here? This cult of the platform is kinda weird. I admit that I use Hacker News everyday, but in the end I don't care about it. If I lost my account tomorrow, I wouldn't care, If my comment gets downvoted to oblivion, I don't care.
(Congratulations to the post author on shipping a valuable product.)
The author is on point that you need to build a business or product that someone is willing to buy :)
But (having a few non-forked repos with >200 stars, one >1k stars) it seems that it does not matter much. Basically, works as any volunteering work.
For bigger companies, it seemed that there was zero care if I have any GitHub project. (Typically there was not a single question relevant to these project.)
My top repo has ~5,000 stars and some contributors. It was fun, it lets you broadcast AM on a stock MacBook or iPhone. That's how I found Hacker News, it found me. Zero dollars. Virtual tip jar, zero tips. I got everything I wanted out of that project and more.
Next, I open sourced my research on vowel pronunciation / language learning. The same exact program sells on the App Store. For $10. Yes really. And the app links to the free repo, in case they want to check it out. This pays rent.
Next, I'm an expert on some blockchain topics. And specifically related to enterprise. If you're in that scene you might recognize me, I'm all over that (=all over GitHub). I put my phone number in a few choice places and qualified people call. This lands large contracts, no interview. This pays rent.
Google and Facebook regularly interview/hire directly from GitHub. No resume, direct interview request from GitHub. I don't work for Google any more, but these are opportunities to pay rent.
On the other hand, people using the software should have no expectations either, they should be grateful for the gift they have received.
I believe the spirit of OSS should be contribute if you want to, if not, that's also ok.
If you demand compensation for your OSS work or you demand the OSS maintainer to implement features yesterday, you're doing it wrong.
I feel like the spirit of people creating software for the sake of software is fading away.
People talk about OSS like /r/choosingbeggers. "Why would I pay you for art? You should do it because it's your passion"
To be honest, I still love open source, but I have to take long breaks from maintenance because the "work" side of it -- the tedious zero effort issues opened, just gets to be demoralizing. The next large project will be closed source. I'm getting too old and grumpy to do project maintenance for free.
Expecting the maintainer to keep pushing updates forever is insanity imo. It also rubs me the wrong way when maintainers demand monetary compensation I feel like this muddies the water. But maybe this is the reality we are living in now.
People should just learn the all details of any kind of business their doing or planning to do.
This part resonated with me quite a bit. However, I've often found that a certain percentage of these people are sometimes willing to pay for support or having specific features added. Especially when using your software can save the organization a tangible dollar amount.
I've personally been on both sides of this equation.
I've been documenting the donations as well on the blog: https://videohubapp.com/blog.html
Amen. Those more obsessed with what they're doing, than with telling other's what they're doing, are the most sincere.
It is illegitimate for the use, distribution and modification of software to be restricted. Due to inopportune social arrangements (e.g. Capitalism) people, like the author, are kept in an artificial state of material want, which forces them to play the corrupting game of intellectual property and close-source software.
I try to avoid that (even if it isn't easy sometime.)