How do people feel about a "pay to version" FOSS funding strategy? Where all source is open, but a certain dollar amount is set, and once it's reached a new release is made. So the paid advantage is pre-built binaries, and updates in distro repos and homebrew taps. But anyone who builds from source is ok.

Please boost :boost_ok:

@makeworld not really sustainable
the main one I've seen so far is uh
"source will be opened once I'm making $X in recurring donations" (like, once I'm getting $2000/mo on patreon or whatever)
this seems to have the highest success rate for actually keeping stuff around by way of the snowball effect
@makeworld I'm not sure if people would bother with that unless the project is very established and in high demand already. I think a more sustainable model would be to use the GPL as it's written. I.e. you can charge for copies of the software, and you must provide the source if requested. None of the commonly-used license state that you must post your code publicly.

Another model would be to provide a service with your software. Something like SourceHut is sustainable because we pay for the hosted version even though the code is all FOSS.

@makeworld I'm not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, software like ardour is great and uses that model but on the other hand it kinda bugs me to not be able to recommend software to my windows-using friends because they'd need to pay for it.

@nihilazo @makeworld You could build it for them if they don't want to pay for it

@nihilazo I think you misunderstand. Once the funding goal is reached than binaries would be released publicly for everyone. As well as updated packages, etc.

@makeworld Another interesting model I've heard of is 'pay to resolve'. The software is open-sourced and public, and others can contribute, but if you want issues to be resolved or features added, you need to pay the maintainers (although they may still fix stuff in their own time). Again, works only for projects in demand.

What we really need, IMO, is a way to more easily donate to several projects at once. Something like a single portal payment collector / distributor for a variety of open-source projects, where users can specify which things they use and/or want to donate to. It would make it easier to manage automatically recurring donations to multiple locations at once. I don't know how feasible this would be in practice, though.

What we really need is to internalize in the entire FOSS community the idea that we have to in some way give back (monetarily) to developers/maintainers whose projects we use. We've disconnected payment from goods by open-sourcing, but we can't not pay - it's not sustainable.

Turns out this already exists! is alive and kicking, and doing the right things by the looks of it. Get on there and support developers! (disclaimer: not affiliated).

@makeworld Relatedly, elementary's charging for beta builds. And encourages you to pay for others' software if you haven't already when update it.


only in the case where project governance was done correctly, and the org accepting funds has explicitly stated where all money goes and for what reason.

@makeworld it's similar to the plain "pay for the binaries, source included" policy that GPL allows. So you can just make "pay a subscriptionto access my repository". Like RedHat, minus the paid care

@makeworld There are several projects that charge for "App Store" versions but the ones distributed to say Linux distro users are then free (and source of course). I know Ardour charges for pre-built binaries and this seems to work pretty well. It is a very big, popular, mature project so I suspect this might not work so well for smaller, more niche stuff or infrastructural things like libraries and cli tools.

@makeworld I think it depends on your goals; @toast is probably right about the recurring donation thing being better for sustainability, but if for philosophical reasons you want source open from the start, this makes sense to me--especially if you were targeting something it wasn't straightforward for people to build/test on, like handheld emulators or whatnot

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