Nadia Eghbal (@nayafia) posted an interesting guide on github
A handy guide to financial support for open source
"I do open source work, how do I find funding?"
Below I've listed every way I know of that people get paid for open source work, roughly ordered from small to large. Each funding category links to several real examples. (Wherever possible, I've tried to link to a useful article or page instead of just a homepage.)
The categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, a project might have a foundation but also use crowdfunding to raise money. Someone else might do consulting and also have a donation button. Etc. The purpose of this guide is to provide an exhaustive list of all the ways you can get paid, so that you can figure out what works best for you.
there are also some comments on hacker news
- Donation button
- Crowdfunding (one-time)
- Crowdfunding (recurring)
- Books and merchandise
- Advertising & sponsorships
- Get hired by a company to work on project
- Start a project while currently employed
- Consulting & services
- Freemium license
- Dual license
- Open core
- Foundations & consortiums
- Venture capital
receive a description, followed by Pros and Cons and link towards Case Studies
Now let me comment on my own little special case with Redtamarin .
In an ideal world being able to work fulltime on redtamarin and making a living with it would be bliss, but it can not happen like that, I do know I will never earn a cent with it and it is perfectly fine (I made my peace with it since day 1).
First, I did not singlehandedly build redtamarin from scratch, it is based on the work of Adobe with the avmplus, so I have to follow the licensing (and I did).
Second, the value is not really in redtamarin itself, well... not really, you have to see it as an enabler or some kind of middleware, it's not about what redtamarin can do but about what dev can do by using redtamarin.
It's like any other programming language, everyone expect it to be somewhat "free to use", you could not sanely think to put a license fee to use it.
Now, if you take PHP for example, sure nobody will pay a license fee just to be able to use PHP,
but plenty of people would want to pay developers that build stuff in PHP or pay solutions made with PHP.
And there things get pretty interesting with Redtamarin, because you can actually dsitributes solutions made with it without having to also distribute the sources, and/or you can run it server-side without having to let other people access to your sources.
So yeah as a sole maintainer of an open source project like Redtamarin I will never make a penny from it, but as a developer I can sell programs and other solutions built uppon the open source project.
Let's give a concrete example, with the open source project as3-universal-analytics, you will notice that I also make it works with redtamarin.
The projet is open source, it is just a library that allow to do tracking with Google Analytics using ActionScript 3, but the same way a dev can use this lib in a mobile app and then invoice their clients a little more because they added "Google Analytics tracking" as a feature, me on my little corner I have built a command-line product that I also sell.
And here the pitch and use case on how I sell it:
It is a niche, I don't have 100s of clients, but because it can run on most servers (Linux mainly, but also Windows and macOS servers), and because I distribute it as a command-line executable I can actually sell that, thanks to redtamarin.
Morality, nobody really own Redtamarin, but any dev do own their own sources/solutions built with it.