Friday, 17 August 2012

Musings on paying for my Open Source Software

So a little while ago I wrote a Ubuntu one plugin for KDE's dolphin. It works well enough but it is just a service menu and lacks the nice icons on the files and folders that the nautilus plugin has. This is due to an inherent limitation in dolphin plugins and in order to get this feature I would have to re-write the plugin as a version control plugin in C++. Unfortunately I'm working at the moment and don't really have the time but I could take a day or two off, write the plugin and put the files up on something like gumroad so people could pay to have them. Do you think people would pay for this ? I know I have several hundred installs directly from within dolphin and more from my website. What do you think about a license in which I give away the source with the app but say you can only edit it for your own needs and release it with a proper open source license (my personal preference is MIT) when a certain goal is reached? Is this a viable method of shipping software on Linux for larger projects with larger budgets and goals?
Lastly am I allowed to ask for money for a ubuntu one plugin? Since Canonical have copy right on Ubuntu. Other apps use ubuntu one is this any different? The U1 dev's seem sound enough and if it brings more people to the platform I'd say they'd be all for it but what do you guy's think?


  1. Have you seen this?

  2. Why not just kickstarter it? I mean, estimate how long it will take you to do, add 50% (since estimates are always short), multiply by your current daily wage, and go. It's the sort of thing that's niche enough that you're not likely to make much selling it in the long run, and this would allow you to decide if there's enough demand to actually do it (of course, you need to adequately publicize the kickstarter).

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