19 votes

A new funding model for open source software

6 comments

  1. anowlcalledjosh
    Link
    It's a little off-topic, but it's interesting to note that Burak is happy to call Aether "open source" several times in this blogpost, but barely mentions that fact on the homepage, and in fact...

    It's a little off-topic, but it's interesting to note that Burak is happy to call Aether "open source" several times in this blogpost, but barely mentions that fact on the homepage, and in fact the source code available rarely matches what the downloadable client is built from, per his own statements on the Aether forums. (Yes, the app is licensed under AGPL; Burak's opinion is that as the copyright holder, he is not bound by the AGPL. I would be eager to see what happens if someone else contributes code without assigning copyright.)

    5 votes
  2. [5]
    hydravion
    Link
    @Deimos, have you considered taking this path?

    @Deimos, have you considered taking this path?

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I read the article originally when you posted it, but I couldn't see how the model could work for Tildes. The idea is basically: "build a version of your product that has almost identical...

      I read the article originally when you posted it, but I couldn't see how the model could work for Tildes. The idea is basically: "build a version of your product that has almost identical functionality to the open-source version, but operating in an environment that's not possible with the open-source version".

      The only reason that seems to be possible for Aether is because it's peer-to-peer, which means that it's impossible for any data to be private. The open-source version of Tildes is already a centrally-hosted service, and if someone wants a private instance all they need to do is run it on an externally-inaccessible server or make it require being logged-in to view anything (like Tildes itself did originally). I can't think of another type of environment that Tildes could run in that's impossible to do with this version and anyone would actually pay for.

      I think it's worth noting that (at least as far as I can tell) this model hasn't actually proven itself as viable for Aether either. The post doesn't say how much money is being made from Aether Pro, and if you read his most recent blog post, near the bottom it says:

      At the beginning of this year, I’ve received some small amount of pre-seed venture capital to make Aether Pro.

      If he had to take venture capital, the model's obviously not working yet, and hasn't proven that it can (and now it has to become way more profitable to be able to give the VC a return).

      8 votes
      1. [3]
        hydravion
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Good points. This may not sound appealing, but how about building two different websites that share the bulk of their codebase, one being monetized while the other isn't, so that the monetized one...

        Good points.

        This may not sound appealing, but how about building two different websites that share the bulk of their codebase, one being monetized while the other isn't, so that the monetized one pays for the two, but the unmonetized one isn't impacted by the negative consequences of monetization?

        As for how to build a large community for the monetized one when there's already reddit, you could take advantage of the fact that reddit is for the most part concerned with English-speaking users. Sure, there is the occasional language-specific subreddit providing content in that language, but that remains negligible.
        There seems to be room for you to grow in the other markets.

        reddit helped me learn English, and it could have helped me learn other languages, if it were available in other languages. I actually searched for reddit clones in German and Arabic when I was learning those languages, but couldn't find any in the former, and found only one in the latter, which I rarely use as it didn't manage to build a community as interesting and entertaining as that of reddit.

        In brief, communities that speak other languages do not always have access to a quality equivalent to reddit, if they are even familiar with the concept of such a website in the first place. You could grow where reddit didn't, and use your monetized website to pay for the development of the unmonetized one. Thus, you would both make a decent living and build the unmonetized website you envisioned.

        What do you think?

        PS – The site could remain closed-source while you're building its userbase and become open-source again as soon as it's become so big that users won't choose competitors and copycats over it.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Deimos
          Link Parent
          I wouldn't want to be responsible for communities in languages that I don't speak. The site's source code also can't be re-closed again at this point, since it's licensed as AGPLv3. That was part...

          I wouldn't want to be responsible for communities in languages that I don't speak.

          The site's source code also can't be re-closed again at this point, since it's licensed as AGPLv3. That was part of the reason I chose it—it ensures that everything built on top of it will always remain open-source.

          5 votes
          1. hydravion
            Link Parent
            Okay, I hope you'll find a model that works for you then :)

            Okay, I hope you'll find a model that works for you then :)

            3 votes