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The developers of these frameworks must be generating some kind of money, no? They aren't all just regular old joes with full-time jobs developing web-frameworks in their spare time for the love of programming?

Do the sites themselves generate any kind of income? Or do they make money off giving talks? Writing books? Would like to see some numbers/statistics if you have any.

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You can read about the core Rails dev team and what they do for a living here. –  Anna Lear Apr 15 '11 at 4:08

3 Answers 3

The frameworks per se? They typically make no money at all. In fact, many open source projects are funded by some sort of corporate entity. Products and services built around open source libraries, on the other hand, can make a fair amount of money. The SaaS products 37signals builds using rails make hundreds of millions, for instance.

On the other hand, many open source projects are indeed built by regular people in their spare time, presumably at least in part because they enjoy it. Why not?

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Not the frameworks themselves, but the devs, directly or indirectly through the creation of the framework. They might make $0 by developing the framework and putting up a site with tutorials and downloads...but... if they're monetizing it in some other fashion, that's what I want to know about. –  Mark Apr 15 '11 at 5:15
So using the framework to build a multi-million dollar business is not monetizing it? –  Rein Henrichs Apr 15 '11 at 6:01
Didn't say it wasn't. I was referring to your second sentence. Although they probably could have built the same business on a different framework, couldn't they? –  Mark Apr 15 '11 at 6:35

In openSource community most of the developers are making a tool for themselves to work with. And that tool evolves much faster and becomes a lot better if more than few heads working on it. Its not about the money, its about the possibilities that will make and "knowhow" it will bring. Yes frameworks do get support/donations from other sources but the idea is the same. Lucky one who can live from it.
Others just sells certificates Pro versions and gives support, write plugins, creates CMS systems from it, writes tutorials or drive around bragging about it... that pretty much sums it up.

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You seem to misunderstand open-source community. Most of the people there (I'd say 90% give or take) participate because it's fun, because they want to contribute, learn, because it's a good hobby, etc. Money is mostly not relevant there.

Some creators of successful open source projects do seem to have most of their income from them, but they definitely did not start their projects to earn money.

More discussion:

Why programming open source?

Why do programmers write applications and then make them free?

What are the common revenue models for free-software companies?

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No... I don't think anyone decided to build a framework as a means to get rich. I'm sure they did it for the love of doing so, but it would be nice if one could earn a living off it so that they could do more of what they enjoy. –  Mark Apr 15 '11 at 6:38

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