- 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)