I'm going to cut right to the chase:
I would like to Open Source all of my software (including Illumination Software Creator and Linux Tycoon) -- while still providing enough income to allow me to continue developing them full time via contributions from the community.
In the past, I've argued that this is simply not a viable way to fund development based on one simple fact: There aren't a lot of success stories out there of indie developers earning a living off contributions.
But then I got to thinking [as I am wont to do every once in a while]... how do I know it won't work unless I try? If I can manage to make this model work, that will provide proof for others, who would also like to move their software businesses to be open source, that it is doable.
So, here we go. It's time to remove any doubt and give this a try.
And, in the interest of helping others learn how to do something similar, I'm going to make the entire process completely transparent and detail as much as I can.
In order to fund active, full time development we need to pull together $4,000 USD per month in subscriptions. This will allow me just enough to get by and focus on creating Open Source software. One time contributions can then cover operating costs (equipment, servers, etc.).
How This Will Work
Starting today, people can contribute (using the options below).
If, over the course of the next week, we can hit the $4,000 mark, I will release the following software as Open Source (licensed under the GPL) :
I will set up these projects on a public source control service (such as GitHub) and set up project tracking tools for each (to allow for bug and feature tracking).
From that point onward I will continue to work on these full time, working with the community.
In addition, I have a few patent applications in the works [relating to Illumination Software Creator and the Lunduke SDK]. These will go into a public patent pool for Open Source projects.
And there will be much rejoicing.
What If It Doesn't Work?
Which all sounds awesome. But what if we can't reach the goal in time?
If, come next week, we haven't come close to the goal -- then I hit the refund button. Everybody who contributed gets a full refund and nothing changes (so there is no risk). I continue to develop this software in a closed source way and get a little bummed out [I'd prefer to not get bummed out].
How To Contribute.
You can contribute one of two ways. Below is a form that allows you to set up a recurring contribution. Or you can make a one-time contribution in any amount you wish.
What Do You Get For Contributing?
There are a two things that contributing gets you:
- The satisfaction of helping make some cool Open Source software.
- Your name (optional) on a donors page and in the about box of the software.
As the week progresses I will be posting statistics on how much has been contributed thus far and how far we have to go. This is going to be 100% transparent and documented publicly.
Any help in spreading the word, over the course of the week, will be greeted with high fives.