I know most people do not create open source projects to make money or to even get reimbursed for their time, but as a project gains success more than likely it will incur some expenses. It would be nice to have some sort of revenue attached to the project so you can cover those.

I’ve seen two basic ways of generating revenue in open source, the first is donations, and the second is by selling something, a commercial license, priority support or something else.

What is funny is how people look at the two vastly different. For example, if you say here is a way to buy something for $20 then people will either buy it or move on. It’s a simple business transaction.

On the other hand, if you say donate $20, the average person goes into a completely different mindset and they want to know what you are going to do with the money, are you going to be frugal, is it required, and on and on.

It’s interesting how people are happy buying things even when a company might be failing and could go out of business tomorrow, but when it switches to a donation they want to see a P&L, balance sheet, and ensure their money is going to be spent well.

If you have a choice, sell something.

One thought on “ Open Source – Donations vs Selling ”

  1. Totally agree with this. It would be nice if github and similar sites made it easy to accept payments for priority support on issues etc. I’ve seen some projects using patreon to sell a sort of priority support type of thing, but it seems like that would be better suited right in the project where it’s hosted.

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