Hot answers tagged

292

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


227

Many companies are certifiably insane around this. Seriously. If you asked 10,000 tech mangers, "Let's say you paid Danica Patrick $100,000,000. Do you think she could win the Indianapolis 500 by riding a bicycle?", I'm sure not one of them would say, "Yes." And yet a good percentage of these same managers seem to think that highly-paid software developers ...


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 ...


170

I would suggest that, in reality, one cost is visible and quantifiable, while the other cost is neither. If failing to upgrade the hardware bleeds even as much as $1000 per developer per week from the budget, no one outside (read: above) the tech department ever sees that. Work still gets done, just at a slower rate. Even in the tech department, calculating ...


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.


95

I will put my 2 cents in here from the employer's side ... who is also a developer. I agree that low end machines are useless but top end machines are overkill. There are a number of reasons why you don't get the top end machines: Cashflow is a real issue, not just a theory. You might be getting paid $60K-$80K per year, but this month we have a total ...


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.


56

The difference of productivity between the "top-end" machines and "almost top-end" machines is negligible. The difference in price is significant. Not to mention the IT support for different machines instead of having all the developers using the same HW and SW images (which you can't do if you're buying a top-end machine for every new hire, the top-end ...


53

I recommend not distributing it to project members at all. Appoint or elect a treasurer, open an account and deposit the money to earn simple interest. If you distribute donated funds between developers, at least one will become disenfranchised as the project grows. Instead, consider the other possibilities for the funds: Swag. Print up some T shirts to ...


49

I've seen too many examples to name a favourite, but I've noticed a few general trends in my main field, web-development: Vanity Websites. These are websites that serve no useful purpose to anyone outside the small organisation that commissions them and are built around an obsessive compulsion with logos, photos of themselves and self-indulgent waffle. The ...


45

The company selling it has no obligation to distribute source to anyone except people to whom they have given binaries. So no, they don't have to give you anything. Someone who has purchased GPL software does have the right to request source and subsequently redistribute that source to anyone under the terms of the GPL. If you can find a customer willing to ...


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 ...


28

I don't see that anyone has mentioned this one yet. Building your own solution when you could buy it. Variations of this pattern: not even considering the buy-vs.-build tradeoff significant scope creep of the in-house solution limited scope, but also limited utility of the in-house solution


27

Limiting Long-term Raises and Bonuses I think its taught in Business 101 to not give employees raises. A secondary case is to limit salaries of star performers because they need to fit inside of some certain salary range. Eventually employees will realise their pay-scale is not in-line with their industry (or output). The people that have the resume and ...


27

Because most employers do not understand how developers think, act or work. Or, how top tools can save the company money while increasing productivity. This leads to the loss of a point on the Joel Test, failure to provide "the best tools money can buy". This also leads to loss in productivity and job satisfaction. Thats just the way it is. Maybe one ...


27

You don't need to pay a cent. You just need to register your copy of it. In the help menu click on register product, it will bring you on a web page where you can log in with a passport account and eventually you'll get a product key to enter into the application. Commercial use of the Visual Studio Express applications is allowed. See here for more info


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 ...


24

This is kind of a "have you stopped beating your wife?" question. While there are Microsoft products that cost thousands of dollars, there are plenty more (from Microsoft) that are free, always, to everyone (eg Express) and ways (legitimate, real, ways) to get the expensive products for free. See Are there deals (free or low cost) to license Visual Studio ...


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 ...


21

Neogitiate a maintenance/support contract or make them buy time-contingents. It's as simple as that. Have statistics on the average amount of time you spend per month and then hand them a simple maintenance contract. That's fair. If they don't want a contract or don't want to buy time-contingents, then charge them every once in a while for a minor task ...


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 ...


20

Paying for big, bulky, buggy commercial products, in the range of: Application servers; Testing tools; Development environments. when the open-source or light-weight alternatives are obviously superior. My steps usually are: establish an alternative as a reference - e.g. "I will experiment with the app server X instead of app server Y. I had good ...


20

Many of the older standards organisations do still charge for their standards, but IMHO it acts as a barrier to wider adoption of the standards. Many standards organisations already manage to provide their standards free. IMHO organisations like ISO and ANSI seem quite outdated by still charging. Here is an arbitrary personal selection of important ...


19

There are two things ordinary users care about: User experience┬╣, Features┬▓. They don't care about: The language used by an app, If it uses design patterns or not, Whether the code is readable, etc. But... ... but a programming language can have a minor effect on user experience. An application which uses Java will require Java to be installed on ...


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 ...



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