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Created Aug 22, 2012
What would you like to do?
Pikachu, the blue-but-not-quite open-source version

The title: when I heard "charging" I immediately thought of Pokemon. Ha. Dork.

If (when, let's be hopeful) I release software, well, if I have a choice in the matter it will be open-source, and it will have been MIT-grade open-source since the beginning. But:

  • If it's a web service, I will host an "official" server which will have a free limited plan, and some kind of charging scheme beyond that.

  • If it's an app, the source will remain free but I will charge for binaries. But keep it MIT licensed.

  • If it's a platform, it will be free and stay open. And that's that.

The first one (SaaS) is not really interesting. What I'm selling is service and hosting and (somewhat) uptime.

The last one is pretty straightforward, don't you think?

The second one (apps) is where most people don't follow. Here's a few things that derive from it:

  • People can build their own binaries, and sell them or put them on the web for free, and I won't care, and maybe even I'll point people there if they're doing a good job.

  • The common folk will probably buy from me.

  • What I'm selling is increased support for those releases that have an official build.

    But, I'm not actually providing that, because having a release immediately creates a focus and lets everyone (other users, contributors, and me) be able and willing to help. So I'm just providing the opportunity for increased support.

  • Developers and tech-savvy people can get their build for free by building it or asking me nicely with a valid reason (e.g. "I'm traveling to a conference and I left my dev box at home").

    That's not a problem and it's not favoritism: developers are a) my peers, b) probably willing to contribute something like code, doc, bugs, and most importantly c) the peepz who bring their friends over.

    Okay, so maybe it is favoritism. But good favoritism!

  • I still get to be open-source, which is my main concern. If I had to choose between charging and open-source, I would choose open-source. Fortunately, I'll never have to make that choice.

This was prompted, in part, by Jared Erondu's "There's Value in Charging".

I agree.

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