Once. Long, long ago (aka "last year"). I tried to convert my long-standing (and fairly successful) business from a traditional "Closed Source Shareware" model to an Open Source model.
And I failed. Tripped. Wham. Flat on my face.
But I'm not exactly the type of guy that lets a little something like that stop him. No sir. Learn from my mistakes, pick myself up -- and try again.
So, as of today (5 minutes ago, to be exact) my entire business is now, once again... Free. Free as in beer (no cost) and "Free" as in freedom (source code available under the GPL). Everything. Linux Tycoon. App-Make-inator. The whole kit and caboodle.
Check the "Apps", "Games" and "Comics" buttons on the left for all the details on what is available.
I've learned some things over the last year -- both about the business of earning a living by making free software, and about myself (what I enjoy and what I am truly good at) -- that has left me confident that I can pull this off. Here's some details on how I'm approaching this:
Playing To My Strengths
Sure. I make some cool software and such. But, well, that's really only part of what I "do".
As many of you may know... I like to stick my mug in front of the camera. And, as it turns out, I'm not completely terrible at that. So let's incorporate that in the form of a weekly video update over on my YouTube channel.
So what will this weekly video entail?
- Updates on what is happening that week. What I'm working on. What releases went out.
- Updates on funding. What sort of donations have come in during the week and how well we're doing against the goals that month.
- Discussion of other Open Source projects that need funding. Not just my own.
- Anything else I feel like rambling about.
There's no set schedule (aka "Thursdays at 2:23PM") for this. Just "once a week". I will post the videos here, on Lunduke.com, as well as the YouTube channel. And I'm sure I'll share it out to Twitter and G+ too. Because that's what I do.
More Than Just Software
I also make Comic Books and such. What about those? Why not make those free too?
Done. But let's go a step further.
I am going to be releasing the source artwork for Road-Sign Hank and the Aliens (as Inkscape files) and 2299 (as bitmaps) under the Creative Commons. Keep an eye here for that over the coming days.
Donations are great. I've said this before: If every Linux user donated 1 dollar to a project... that would go a long way towards taking care of funding for so many of the Open Source projects we love and use every day.
And, to that end, I am setting an initial donation goal of $5,000 for the month of June. Some may say that seems like a lot of money. So allow me to lay out my reasoning for this number:
- If this was a salary for a full time developer in North America... this would be a very low number. We're talking entry level wages here.
- This is less than what I earn in sales when the software is closed source.
- If only a fraction of the total user base for my software donates a single dollar... this goal will be easy as pie to reach.
As time goes on it may become a good idea to lower or raise this monthly goal. I'm going to stay flexible here and adjust as needed.
Other Revenue Streams
But what about other various sources of revenue for supporting Open Source software? Let's do that too.
- Shirts, Hats, Posters, etc. - Yep. I'm going to be selling it all.
- Bounties for features - Want to see a specific new feature faster? You'll be able to fund it directly.
- Others? - There are lots of options out there. From Ad revenue to App Store sales. I will consider them all.
Leave no stone un-turned, as they say!
I Am Not An Island
There are a large number of, absolutely amazing, Open Source project out there. And they need funding too.
But that funding tends to be quite elusive. So let's work to change that.
With that in mind I am putting together a page that lists as many Open Source projects as possible (in alphabetical order so it's easy to find what you're looking for) with direct links to their individual donation pages.
If you have a project that you would like to have included, drop me an email (link at the top of this page).
I am also pondering the notion of having a "Fund Open Source" telethon. One of those "We stay on camera for 24 hours until we are punch drunk and acting ridiculous" deals to encourage folks to pitch in to one of many Open Source projects out there. [This is just an idea at this point... no specific plans at this point.]
The point here is to work together, as a community, to make great things. "A rising tide lifts all boats", as they say.
So. Here we go.
Holy moly, I am excited. I've been wanting to do this for some time now... just been waiting until the moment was just right -- and everything was primed for optimum success. And now is that moment.
There's plenty to do. I need to some additional projects in source control still (that's a weekend project for sure). But all of the basics are in place. You can download everything and donate as you feel appropriate.
Want to get ahold of me? There are a plethora of links up top for your preferred communication mechanism.