Hot answers tagged

293

Because I don't want to feel obligated to provide technical support or offer refunds.


214

Sharing Most of us make use of software that has been provided to use free of charge. As a result, it makes sense to share our own software free of charge as well. Basically, we are exchanging our software for the other free software but without the overhead of actually going through a transaction. There will be leaches who do not contribute, but since ...


114

Releasing free apps and working on open source programs are great advertisements for selling a product, namely you. (Alternatively phrased: free apps are a loss leader for selling your time.) There's also the concept of the "gift economy", where the more you give away the wealthier you are. Why would I not donate back to my peers/society at large when I ...


102

I suggest that you watch this fantastic video to learn why money is often not the motivation for doing things: RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us I recommend that you watch the whole thing, but it also directly answers your question around the 6:40 mark.


65

Some people write programs for the fun of it—selling it turns it into work. Some people rank the number of people who use their programs above how much cash they get for it—selling it pushes down the first where they don't care much about the second.


52

Hmm, what comes to my mind is Because you want to retain some measure of control over the product Because you want to reserve the possibility / right to charge for the product in the future Because you're ashamed of your source code Because you want to make sure you are credited for the product, and it doesn't get stolen and re-used in other projects (of ...


38

I release my software for free because I have spent time and energy on it but have neither the time or inclination to market it, someone might-as-well benefit. By personal philosophy is (and I do sell software too), "Competition makes you better". If you can't create a product that blows the competition (free or not) out of the water you're going to be in ...


31

A lot of free apps are created by someone who is fully employed and has come up with an idea for an application that they produce in their spare time. That person doesn't "need" the money to survive. A lot of times finding the mechanisms to market, sell and collect payment are just not worth the effort and sometimes individuals just enjoy offering ...


25

I see two main reasons: An individual programmer may just want to be known and loved. There is an alternate economic model behind the scene. Some famous examples: iTunes, Acrobat reader, Firefox, Ubuntu are all free but their promoters all make money with these products (selling entertainment, paid features, audience for search engines, support).


25

There does come a point where enough is enough, and then there is the fact that it does take more effort to sell something even though it may be a small effort. I still need to come up with a way to collect money for example. I think the reason I post free apps that are closed source is simply because I love full featured freeware myself, so I like sending ...


23

Why does anyone offer free advice here on Stack Exchange when some people make money answering technical questions? I think this points to a basic psychological need to be generous. Jorge Moll and Jordan Grafman, neuroscientists at NIH, have found that charity is hard-wired in the brain. See the Washington Post article ``If It Feels Good to Be Good, It Might ...


23

One of my favorite productivity tools is freeware. I asked the author about the source one time, and he said he couldn't release it because it contains a lot of proprietary code that belongs to his employer. So I suppose that his employer doesn't mind it being used in a free tool, but that it's also being used in their commercial products and they don't ...


20

I get paid enough at my day job as a programmer. I mostly code on my own little projects for fun. I release almost all of what I write on my own time for free and under a free/open source license because: These are fun projects (e.g. an interpreter for a simple language, a tool to clean up JavaScript code, various small scripts, etc.). These are not "...


18

I've come across quite a few app where I ask my self "You are asking for $20.00 for this crap?" I know I can do it better and in order to "stick it to the man" I release it for free. I understand that there is lots of time and money going into those apps but I also believe that if you are going to put out a product for sale, it should be top notch or just ...


18

Quality Having the source code open, quality can improve drastically. Think other programmers improving the code, think automated source code analyzers. Durability Closed source tends to get lost when there is some better/more competitive product. Open Source can be shared forever. Sharing... is caring. Now everyone in the world is enabled to use the ...


14

Programming can also be a hobby Many people treat programming as a hobby, writing programs for fun when they get home, and sharing them on the net, or participate in open source projects. This is just like photographers like to take pictures and share them with the world on sites like picasa or flickr, and musicians that like to create music and share it ...


12

As an entrepreneur/programmer who makes a good living from writing and selling software, You are not a programmer, at least not one sharing the scientific and engineering that makes most programmers choose their field. You are an entrepreneur who uses programming to make a living (not a bad thing by the way.) I'm dumbfounded as to why developers ...


12

Fun. Development of software product can be fun and can be done for fun. Altruism. Most people from time to time think about what they live for, and some people come to conclusion, that helping others or sharing resources (including time and knowledge) with others can be a good meaning of their life. Education. Some developers study by writing free ...


11

One of the main reasons why I'd consider releasing an app for free is because it's a surefire addition to my portfolio for future endeavors (potential job opportunities, promoting your name in the programming world). That's more than enough payment if you ask me.


8

One I don't see here yet - because the source code has value in itself, separate from the application as a whole. If you have useful libraries that you've written, you're likely to use them even in projects that you intend to give away. That doesn't mean you're willing to give that library source code away. And without those libraries, the rest of the ...


7

Start them off with a free version. Then by version 4 start charging. If the product is any good, people will continue to buy it. Alternatively, go the Google route and offer a cut-down version for free, with a pro version costing a small amount extra.


7

I do open source work because I like doing it. Not only by doing it am I helping others, but in the long run I see it as helping myself since others are going to get involved to help as well. I heavily depend upon open source tools at my job, so without people spending some of their time to do things like that, I'd really be missing out on some excellent ...


6

Couple of reasons: a) Pleasure Charging for something might actually make some activities less pleasurable, I can recommend the extremely interesting Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates U b) Hassle Starting to charge money for something requires you to take care of a hundred mundane little things, everything from support, setting up payment ...


6

Good answer by Pekka, I'd add that exposing the source code may also increase your risk of exposing security vulnerabilities, which can be either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on who notices them :)


6

There have been 2 great answers so far but here are my reasons that I can see: It is more trouble than it is worth. They use the freemium model Don't feel they should For #1, if the product is free and the person isn't seeing any profits from it, they may not feel like having to deal with hosting the source code and making sure that they update it ...


6

You don't explain what you want to do with your software. Typically, you could go to Open Source Institute and browse their approved licenses, but it's simpler to pick a few. My general recommendation, unless you have specific requirements (such as software you're incorporating into yours, restrictions on license for intended use, or source repository ...



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