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I have a nice open-source library in mind to write. It would take a few months to develop properly and I would need to stop supporting myself though other projects. Could anybody share experiences and best-known-methods to get some sort of financial support through the Internet whilst developing free, open-source code?

Or, phrased more directly: which systems apart from "PayPal" are in use by programmers to get donations for open-source code? Provide a list. Optionally, sort the list as if it were a recommendation in descending order of positive experiences made with each system. Optionally, share a tidbit of your success story getting this kind of financial support. Optionally: give an indication as to how much money can be made that way? (I heard Vim's author could support himself just with donations at some point?)

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closed as not constructive by Robert Harvey, gnat, Thomas Owens Oct 12 '12 at 10:18

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Donations are not how you make money out of open-source. YOu can get few bucks here and there, but it is far from good compensation for amount of code you need to write. –  Euphoric Oct 12 '12 at 5:48
you first need to create open-source component or library, and then offer your services to support it for commercial needs. –  Yusubov Oct 12 '12 at 5:50
I have no personal experience, but have read some success-stories using KickStarter –  Jan Hudec Oct 12 '12 at 8:10
As it stands, this question is very unconstructive. The first part is simply asking for a list of experiences, while questions are supposed to be about solvable problems and not simply polling for experiences or supporting extended discussions. The second part is explicitly asking for a list of things, something else which is not suitable for the Stack Exchange format. –  Thomas Owens Oct 12 '12 at 10:20

1 Answer 1

1. Paid support

Lots of products use support as a way to get money from open source products. When people are using your library, they may need help and assistance, which can be paid.

Cons: it's easy to fail. If you do it wrong, nobody will use your paid support while the same sort of help may be obtained from peers through Stack Exchange.

2. Paid extensions

What if a large company uses your library, but needs a very particular change in it? Either they hire a developer to modify your open source library after wasting weeks discovering the source code, or they simply pay you to do the change, as you're the one who has a perfect knowledge of the codebase.

Cons: if you write high quality source code, very well documented, with a clean and intuitive architecture, it would be easy for a company to hire a developer who will change the library, instead of paying your services. If, instead, your code is unreadable, not documented, and not properly designed, then don't open source your library: there is already enough open sourced crap in the world.

3. Paid license less restrictive than open source

What if the license you choose is incompatible with some commercial usages? You may provide two licenses: an open source one, and a paid one which is less restrictive.

Cons: if you're basically choosing a license which is permissive enough, like Creative Commons Zero (close to public domain), you can hardly make a paid license more permissive.

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