Open Source. This time… with feeling!

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

BryanSure.  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, 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

Ted128I 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.

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24-Hour “Pay What You Want” Sale

The sale is over!  But, do not despair!  All is not lost!

You can still save $10 (on any typically $30 purchase) by using the coupon code “LINUX” both at the store and store.

Which ain’t too shabby.

Quick sale.  Because sales are fun.

Pay what you want.

Here’s what you get:

The Sale Has Ended!

This could save you like… a billion dollars.  Give or take.

This ends at sundown on Friday.  So… get it while you can.

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Build your own Comic Strip Browser

ComicBrowserProjectI woke up this morning and thought to myself…

“Self, I should build a super cool comic strip browser.”

So I did that.  And it took… maybe 3 minutes.  4 minutes tops.  And I’m sharing it with you.

Above is a screenshot of the entire project — built in App-Make-inator, of course.

That’s it.  That’s the whole thing.  Just a handful of colorful little blocks and – SHAZAMY – fully functional comic strip browser that works pretty doggone well.

ComicBrowserShotFeel free to Take it for a spin.

I currently have it set to behave like a “desktop app” with a draggable window.  But you can also make it not have a draggable window (in case you want to embed it within an existing website seamlessly).

It would also be pretty easy to tweak to work great on a tablet (actually it already works just right on my Nexus 7).

Here’s the complete project file.  Feel free to use it for whatever you like.  You’ll want the latest version of App-Make-inator as well.

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Price Adjustment and Discounted Bundles

Illumination IconJust a quick note that I’m making a minor adjustment to the price of Illumination Software Creator.

I’ve dropped the price down to $39 (was $49).  Not a big change.  This just feels like the right price.

While I’m at it I’ve also re-instituted the Bundles.  Bundles are fun.  Here’s the details:

The Have Fun Bundle” – Buy for $9 (normally $19) – Linux Tycoon, 2299 : Episode 1 and both current issues of the Road-Sign Hank comic books.

The Build Stuff Bundle” – Buy for $45 (normally $68) – Illumination Software Creator, Game-Make-inator and Radical Comic Designer.

The Everything Bundle” – Buy for $50 (normally $87) – Everything in both of those bundles in one big, mega bundle.

Nothing crazy.  Just some good discounted deals.  All available from the Download Page.

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Changes to purchasing and downloading.

BryanMajor, major changes to the way purchasing and downloading are handled at

Over the last half-year-ish, downloads were handled via a single page.  Accessing that page was done via a “Pay What You Want” system.  That system worked… fairly well.  Not great / Not terrible.  But, most importantly, not as well as the old-school “shareware” style of purchasing/download that I used for the previous decade.

As of today, everything has been transitioned to a more tried-and-true system.  One that worked well for me for years and years (before I decided to try out some alternatives) — and will allow me to effectively fund further development and creation of the software and content.

  • All downloads are handled from a single page.
  • Purchasing of Illumination, Linux Tycoon, Game-Make-inator and the Road-Sign Hank comics are handled from this page as well.
  • Trial versions are available for all apps and games.
  • Everything now has a set price.
  • All episodes of “World of Linux” and “Mack Murphy, P.I.” are now freely available from the same download page.
  • Beta Releases of apps and games will be handled via individual posts here on

Everything remains licensed under the Greater Lunduke License (aka “The Bill & Ted License”).  Which is most excellent.

In short: More free content for you guys.  A well tested (and successful) system.  Plus the page looks nicer now.  So that’s pretty sweet.

To all of you awesome folks that have paid, under the old system, for access to the Download Page during Feb and March: You have been given full registration information to everything.  Because, as I said before, you’re awesome.  And I take care of my peeps.  Check the original Download Link for more information.

To all of you awesome folks that purchased Illumination Software Creator 5 upgrade licenses, you’re existing numbers will work like a charm.

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