Open Source, she is a fickle mistress.

I’m not really big on defeat.  It’s not something I dig.

So when I think something is a good idea… I tend to just continue hammering away until it becomes a reality.  Case in point:

BryanStep 1) Bryan wishes  Jos Whedon would make an Avengers movie.

Step 2) Bryan wishes for it really hard.

Steps 3 through 7,394) ?

Step 7,395) Bryan watches an Avengers movie made by Jos Whedon.

No matter how unlikely it is, if I am convinced it is a good idea that could make the world a bit more awesome, my soul demands that it must happen.  [Not trying to take anything away from Mr. Whedon's hard work here, all I did was get the ball rolling with the first two, obviously critical, steps.]

This applies to me believing in the fundamental awesomeness of Open Source (and, for those who feel persnickety about the wording, “Free Software”).

Which is why I Open Sourced such a huge amount of my applications and games under the GPL license.  And, as you can probably surmise, that changes the business strategy a teensy bit.

I opted to go for the “Open Source funded by donations” route.  Because I believed in its viability.  Still do, really.

Just not now.  [Maybe in the future.  Maybe in the near future.  Perhaps a bit farther out.  I, honestly, have no clue.]

Donations started out fairly strong.  Not off the charts… but steady enough to suggest a bit of predictability.  Which, for anyone looking to earn an income from an endeavor (aka “a job”), predictability in paychecks are a good thing.

Then, within a smattering of weeks, things dropped off.  Donations fell to a point where it would be hard to pay a part-time intern with the monthly totals.

Which leaves me with three options:

  1. Close up all of the software and begin selling it again (which is a proven way to support this specific software).
  2. Leave the software Open, keep working on it full time, and hope magical unicorns fly out of my posterior and begin conjuring money with their Rumpus-Unicorn-Magic ™.
  3. Leave the software Open… but stop working on it full time.  Thus free up time to focus on endeavors that provide better revenue.

Option 1 sounds like defeat.  See top of this post for more information on my thoughts about defeat.

Option 2 sounds awesome.  But unicorn-based.  Never go into a situation where you are reliant on unicorns.  This would be about as dumb as messing with a Sicilian when death is on the line.

So Option 3 it is!

Luckily, for me, I’ve got my writing to fall back on and give my focus to.  [For those of you who read that sentence and thought "REEEEALLY?!  YOU?!" -- and then proceeded to look over the current post for grammatical and spelling errors... all I have to say is this: Crazy, right?  People pay me for these words.  It's a nutty world we live in.]

Here’s how this is going to work:

  • Source code remains available for Illumination, App-Make-inator, etc..
  • Donations are still accepted on the Download Page. 
  • Those donations fund the development in the following month.  (ie. Donations in January fund the development that occurs in February.)
  • Only a few donations = Only a little development.
  • Lots of donations = Lots of development.

Simple, right?  This lets development continue, in a focused way… just (probably) a fair bit slower than before.

With all this in mind, I have removed the donation goal progress bar from the site.  It just doesn’t make sense anymore.

And if I, say, release a new game in the future (which has been known to happen)… will it be Open Source?

Honestly that really depends on how things are going.  If the funds are there to support it?  For sure.  Otherwise any new piece of software will likely be released as closed source in the old-school Shareware style.

As an aside, I just want to say this:

I am extremely proud of the community we have here.  Many of you put your money where your mouths were… and that resulted in some excellent Open Source software.  All of you deserve to pat yourself on the back.

I am also a fair bit humbled (about as humbled as I get, anyway).  You donated your hard-earned money based, in part, on your belief that what we were doing was worth while — and that me working on these projects was worth while.

For that, I thank you.  Quite sincerely.

Okay.  That out of the way, time for me to prep the next issue of Road-Sign Hank and the Aliens.  That comic book has sat idle for far, far too long.

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Quick Update w/Fancy Bullet Points

“WHOAH!  No update in almost 2 weeks!  What gives!”
– Guy On Internet

BryanThat’s a good point, Internet Guy!

Here’s a bullet list of stuff going on, over the last week or two, that just might interest some of you.

  • A new app has been born.  Arduino-Make-inator (aka “ArMi”).  Basically this is a modified version of App-Make-inator… with the entire focus being to visually create custom logic for Arduino boards.  Yes.  That is very cool.  Will be checking that in to GitHub in the next few days.
    • Side Note: ArMi was made possible thanks to a very cool chap who donated to make it possible.  I mentioned that it would be cool to make.  He agreed.  Then he found some cash to allow me the time to do it.  High fives are given.
  • I am behind on Bryan Says and Limerick videos that folks have donated and requested.  But not for long.  Because…
    • I finally got a proper recording rig set up.  So no more videos from my lame, super-grainy webcam.  Videos will be resuming over the weekend and Monday.
  • Linux Tycoon rebuilt in App-Make-inator (for Web, Android, iOS, Ubuntu Touch, etc.) will be rolling out on July 3rd.
  • One of our community members, Bob Mottram, has been packaging Illumination Software Creator for darn near every distro out there (with packages for SUSE, Fedora, Arch, Debian… you name it).  You can grab the packages here, and see the source and working files for building them over on GitHub.
    • Side Note: Bob Mottram is awesome.

That’s about it for the moment.  With the end of the month approaching (tomorrow) I will be making a post with a chart of all donations, along with a few extra details and my thoughts on how to improve during the month of July.

The Short Version: Donations fell short of the goal for the month of June (unless there is a weird flood of donations on the last day of the month).  But we didn’t do badly either — so now we’ll just be fine-tuning things and adding in some additional sources of funding for the Open Source projects.  Pretty confident we can improve the numbers during July.  I’m feeling good about it.  But more on that after June is officially over.

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Watch Bryan Code : Sunday @ 1pm Pacific Time

THRILL!  As I fix bugs.

MARVEL!  As I figure out how to build packages for Arch and Fedora in the Open Build Service.

DELIGHT!  As I say things, occasionally, that amuse myself.

BryanThis weekend I’m sitting down to get some work done on my Open Source software.

And you can watch.

When:

This Sunday, May 2nd at 1pm Pacific Time (4pm Eastern).  We go until I get too tired!  Or “a few hours go by”.  One or the other.

What:

I’ll be working on:

  • Setting up packages for Linux Tycoon, App-Make-inator and others for Arch, Fedora, etc. in the Open Build Service.
  • Fixing bugs reported from users in various games and apps.
  • I’ll be screen sharing the whole thing.  So you can spy on me.

Where:

As an On Air Hangout.  You can catch it over on G+ or my YouTube channel.

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Announcing the LunduNUX Linux Distro.

BryanI’ve made my own Linux Distro.

I call it LunduNUX.  Because, well…

Lunduke + Linux = LunduNUX

So, you may be asking yourself why I would do this.  So I made up some bullet points explaining why.

  1. Make it easy to test software integration on various Desktop Environments.
  2. Use the default UI settings (or, at least, close to it) for each Desktop Environment.
  3. Preload it with all the tools I use.  Because I need them.
  4. Loaded up with web browsers.  Lots of them.  To test stuff.
  5. Put on some good wallpaper.  Because that’s nice.
  6. Loaded up with DOS emulation (including LunDOS) working on Linux Tycoon for DOS.  Also for playing games.  Games are fun.
  7. Loaded up with latest versions of all of the Open Source projects that I work on.  Good to have a base reference platform.
  8. It’s got a picture of me when it boots up.  This is important.

LunduNUXBasically it’s my default dev/test environment.  And it’s built with Suse Studio — which means it’ll be easy to keep up to date.

Having this helps…

  • … me setup new machine.
  • … new developers of my Open Source projects get setup quickly.
  • … users of my software to test with a known working environment.
  • … probably something else too.

In other words: I made it for myself.  But you can use it too.

The current version (0.0.3) is definitely a work in progress.  It works dandy, and you could use it just like you could use an openSUSE installation… I’ve just got a bit more I want to add in there.

Download information is over on the, world famous, Download Page.  More general info on the LunduNUX page.

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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 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

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

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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