Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Funding Open Source By Donations: Lighting the Path

timothy posted about a year ago | from the getting-things-done dept.

The Almighty Buck 56

New submitter BryanLunduke writes "One week ago I Open Sourced my — previously commercial — software (GPL) and comic books (creative commons). I am now documenting my journey to fully fund their continued development with the first week's results of funding via donations. I am publishing this information here to give others the facts they need to help decide if they can afford to do something similar."

cancel ×

56 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sooo.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881255)

Nooo.. your publishing here in hopes of garnering further donations.. And the more that do similar the less profitable it is for the individual.

step one (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881257)

have a better track record than bryan lunduke.

http://www.thepowerbase.com/2012/06/pulling-a-lunduke-holding-source-code-hostage/

this same guy has been discussed here at /. previously

http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/02/07/028253/ask-slashdot-can-closed-source-software-transition-to-the-gpl-successfully

Re:step one (5, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43881611)

This doesn't make any sense. If it is HIS source code, then there's no such thing as "holding it hostage". He wants to make his software available under a free and open source license, yet he don't want to loose the income that he needs. Why is this offending? Why is it so wrong that someone else prefers to actually make a living rather than doing the hard work just for the good of it? What you are asking him is basically that he should donate his time and money to you, and hope that you might be generous enough to pay him back a little.

Re:step one (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881653)

Well, you have 2 points, and the guy above you has 5 points. So he wins the cyber-battle. Sorry, loser.

Re:step one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43883705)

I think you mean looser.

Re:step one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881745)

The problem as I see it is this guy is trying to maximise his exposure by appealing to the geek in us, but when he's just doing it to try and maximise profits.
From the looks of the GP (Thanks btw, very enlightening) Byron has been doing this nearly annually in an attempt to maximise his exposure.
From what I see Byron is a fool and has the wrong impression of OSS software. To quote from the second Line from the GP post

The only real catch is this: the Open Source version of LiveCode (that they are dubbing the "Community Edition") will only be able to make Open Source software. If you want to build Closed Source software you'll still need to pay for the commercial edition. Which...actually seems pretty doggone reasonable to me.

This is a comment by Byron and that flies in the face of what GPL software is about... totally and completely. GPL software is about freedom to do what you want with software, this comment is about free software that restricts what you can do with the software.
Byron Lunduke doesn't understand the philosophy behind the GPL and should be ignored.

CAPTCHA: lavender, because this post smells pretty.

Re:step one (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43881805)

That's not at all what GPL is about. GPL has a condition which says that any modification or derived work has to be distributed under the same license. As far as I understand when you build software using LiveCode then that software uses code that is part of LiveCode, and should therefore be licensed under the same license. This is very little different from Qt, which used to use the same model.

Re:step one (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43881819)

not quite true for qt for quite some time.

Re:step one (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43881861)

Yes they have since changed the license. But the point is that this is no different than any other dual licensing scheme. The license [1] is GPLv3. The only thing they've added is a linking exception for two libraries they require which is not compatible with GPLv3, OpenSSL and ATL. As far as I can see there's nothing else added or removed from the license which would make this any different than any other GPLv3 project.

[1] https://github.com/runrev/livecode/blob/master/LICENSE [github.com]

Re:step one (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881965)

- Write Open Source Software
- Be Profitable
- Lunduke

Pick two.

Has his own FreeDOS distribution (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#43881273)

Now, at last you can contribute to something we've all wanted - a new FreeDOS distro. [lunduke.com] You can support his 20-line BBS [lunduke.com] via Telnet. Read his web comic. Play his text adventure game. And there's an "app creator" program.

Not sure whether this is cute or pathetic.

Re:Has his own FreeDOS distribution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881347)

Sounds like the venture of a faggot to me. Pathetic for sure.

Re:Has his own FreeDOS distribution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881449)

Takes one to know one.

Literally, and biblically.

Re:Has his own FreeDOS distribution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881547)

I am rubber you are glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. Also, what the hell does "Literally, and biblically" mean in this context?

"Takes one to know one.

Literally, and biblically."

It sounds like something a faggot would say.

Re:Has his own FreeDOS distribution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881847)

If you want to be a faggot, you're going the right way with rubber.

Re:Has his own FreeDOS distribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881815)

NOTICE: This domain name expired on 05/31/2013 and is pending renewal or deletion.

Heh.

Funding? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881309)

If it needs to be funded, maybe it shouldn't be free... or it should be beneficial to society or something.

I mean there's free as in charity, then there's free as in street performer. Which side of that should free-as-in-money software really be on? If you pull the attitude that you're doing everyone a favor, you know.. sometimes free isn't good enough, that's all.

I'm drunk and tired (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881361)

but I'd still like to build a tower of stone. Cool smooth stone.

Ahead of our time (5, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about a year ago | (#43881377)

FLOSS might actually turn out to be, in the long view of human existence and intellectual development, vastly ahead of its time.

FLOSS, henceforth "open source" as this term is far more linguistically charming regardless of legalistic accuracy, is a mindset and way of conducting one's life that might actually be too soon in coming. It appear at once to be imminently practical, fair, and compassionate. Who among us that wishes good for all mankind would want otherwise for their life's work? Yet this very question belies the problem inherit therein: the creators do in fact have a lifetime, temporally finite in a way which is not of their own choosing. Death is, currently, a certainty, which makes the human work-hour a unit of absolute importance if we are to value anything at all. It is from this work-hour from which our ability to support offspring comes--a topic I have heard Mr. Lunduke speak of adamantly to a certain RMS. Certainly he has the right to provide for his children and relatives, yet all would also assert society does not have the obligation to same. Whence comes the compromise? It is, of course, to be found in the production of useful work unique to said individual. A program is paid for his work sufficiently only because his work is sufficiently difficult to perform.

But what happens when it is not? This conversation is not even ongoing in our society. We are not even considering a world when humans are eclipsed by machines, automation, and computation. We are not even having the conversation of what society will look like when all but the most brilliant among us are capable of performing useful work.

Open source is a brilliant lurch toward the end state of utopia, but it does nothing to connect the dots from our current state to that promised land. These problems will be solved by thinkers greater than I or Lunduke or perhaps anyone else currently living, but they either will be solved or the human race will stagnate or regress to feudalism.

I hope for progress, efficiency, and a preservation of the human spirit manifest in expressions of beauty, art, order, and exquisitely flawed form. What philosophy guides us thus? What but Open Source, the sharing of the structure of life and the universe itself, can even prepare us for this nirvana? It isn't a question of whether open source is better than the alternatives, it is a question of whether open source is better than abject failure and darkness.

It is.

Re:Ahead of our time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881455)

True talk. Now. to convince everybody that they need to put aside their petty differences would be a tall order.

Re:Ahead of our time (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43881461)

+5 Interesting

Also, that message is perfect when read in Dr. Breen voice. ;)

Re:Ahead of our time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885101)

+5 Interesting

Also, that message is perfect when read in Dr. Breen voice. ;)

You're making me to replay HL2.

Re:Ahead of our time (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43881469)

" We are not even having the conversation of what society will look like when all but the most brilliant among us are incapable of performing useful work."

Whoever owns the machines lives like a king. The rest of us starve, or get shot by the robot police force during the inevitable food riots.

Re:Ahead of our time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881639)

Whoever owns the machines lives like a king. The rest of us starve, or get shot by the robot police force during the inevitable food riots.

It's like I've always said: I don't bother saving for retirement, because I plan to go out gloriously, fighting against our robot oppressors.

Re:Ahead of our time (1)

CBravo (35450) | about a year ago | (#43882429)

There is one USP of OSS: The source is open and can therefore be seen, inspected, improved and reused by anyone.

What do we want from future software (maybe not the full list):
-less bugs
-more security
-better integration options between software A on location X and B on location C.
-easier functional design & testing, especially of a set of applications working together.
-Solve the problems that result in remarks like: 'I want applications to do what I want them to do', 'why are computers so dumb', ...

So how do you get more without an exploding code base (and exploding bug count and reduced security): code reuse. Therefore OSS is the future. Maybe current situation will hold for a while (question: how large can the world codebase become for it te become unmanageable?).

The question then is how to do it. We currently use libraries and api's to reuse code, mainly. Some intelligent thinking should go into that. Thoughts?

Re:Ahead of our time (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#43884903)

It's not that FLOSS is too early; it's that society is too late in North America.

In many jurisdictions, one can survive quite comfortably on the funds provided by the state. You only need a minimal income to buy yourself the occasional perk. Even here in Saskatchewan, Canada, I am living ok on my government disability (the migraines and bi-polar got to be too much for employers to deal with.)

But I don't have a fancy life. I don't own a house or a car. I moved to a smaller town where I have high speed and access to the medical services, groceries, dentists, and so-on that I need, but little else.

So now I can work on my pet project at my leisure, instead of being forced to try to make money off it now. It will probably never earn a dime. But it's fun, challenging, and keeps me occupied.

So maybe scratch that. It's not that society doesn't support FLOSS; it's that people expect too much out of life.

Re:Ahead of our time (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about a year ago | (#43885477)

It's not that society doesn't support FLOSS; it's that people expect too much out of life.

Yours seem like a reasonable and happy life to me. So people expect too much what? Stuff, Fame, Money? Probably. Actual life? Probably not.

Re:Ahead of our time (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#43885259)

That's some tasty thinking, man. One key thing is future cost of energy. If energy is cheap enough ("too cheap to be metered" as some of the early blurbs for nuclear power had it) then those not in the intellectual one-percent will be able to make what they need for the most part. Our whole thinking and doing about one's station and worth in life along with the entire economic system and its rationale while have to change radically. It will be a [ahem] paradigm shift. Much of the basic thinking on this has been kicking around for years, it's just that few do think on it and fewer take it seriously. Those who read widely in science fiction will have had at least some exposure to bits and pieces of it.

For an interesting take, see http://marshallbrain.com/ [marshallbrain.com] and click on "Manna" - it's a quick read and covers some of the ground.

OSS as human future is one thought-provoking....er, thought. Thanks for that.

Re:Ahead of our time (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about a year ago | (#43885451)

I would love a good conversation about this. It is hard to tell if the result will be a dystopia or an utopia. I believe it will be both, in that order. Humans will make a mess of things and pay dearly before learning the lesson and starting moving in the right direction.

On a different note, I don't think only jobs for smart people will remain, just less work in general. There are smart people doing not so smart things now and automation potential does not correlate with intelligence 100% (ask chess players). Two good solutions for this would be less work for each person, or less persons in total. Big families were a survival necessity at some point, I hope population reduction will gain traction now that the scales are tipped differently.

Linux Tycoon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881411)

This looks like fun.

Is there an open source version of this?

Does Slashdot get a percentage of the money you bring in? Why else would they post this story?

Might as well be OSS (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43881477)

Frankly, Lunduke's projects are quite simple, so it's okay to let the genie out of the bottle. The donation model works here perfectly: throw a couple of dimes in the guitar case if you find them cool. At the same time, indie game devs can use them as good learning material.

The future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881509)

of OSS is this?

I might be black, homeless, on welfare, a Democrat voter, using food stamps, a convicted rapist, a crack addict, and Obama's son, but even I know that what Lunduke is doing is fucking stupid as hell.

On an unrelated note, I make more money from begging than most people that have real jobs.

That's nice... (5, Insightful)

darkfeline (1890882) | about a year ago | (#43881631)

That's nice, but is this kind of blatant self-promotion allowed on /.? This is not your personal blog. Can't we abide by the secondary source rule that Wikipedia has, so that we can guarantee some degree of notability? If you've finished your study and it caught someone else's eye because it's well-written and interesting and they post it here, cool, but "Funding Open Source By Donations: Lighting the Path", really? You are not the first person to do this, sorry to burst your narcissistic bubble.

Re:That's nice... (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43881687)

I for one found it interesting to read.

Re:That's nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881767)

What are the rules on slashdot in regards to posting stories that are literally links to sites (owned by you) where you beg for money?

If I offered to give slashdot 5% of the money I take in, would they approve my story? Or would they need 10%?

15%? 20%? 25%? 40%?

slashdot has kinda turned into a bit of a joke these last couple of years...

Re:That's nice... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43881827)

it's a yearly funding drive kinda thing.

We've all been there (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#43881737)

I don't think I'm speaking out of term when I say we've all created these little silly games and tools when we were just learning how to program. And, like me, we've probably all tried to make a bit of money from it, got some bucks from family or neighbors and occasionally even something from a kind stranger.

Some set up a lemonade stand (do children actually still do this) or a little "shop" at the side of the road, others do stuff like this.

Don't be too harsh on the kid, he's just trying to turn his hobby into something useful. Most kids his age would just be causing trouble in the neighborhood or playing soccer or softball at best.

Atleast he's learning something that might be useful when he grows up.

Re:We've all been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881811)

Doesn't seem [lunduke.com] like kid to me.

Re: We've all been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43882161)

"Some set up a lemonade stand (do children actually still do this) or a little "shop" at the side of the road, others do stuff like this."

Yes! I took my husband's scooter around to the many yard sales this past weekend (US Memorial Day) and several of the yard sales had lemonade stands with rather enterprising yet LITTLE kids (age 6-8).

Their manners were already formed extremely well though endearingly you could tell they'd had trouble engineering the stands themselves.

I know this is a bit off topic but you should have seen their eyes light up and feet scramble to get into position when I showed up, still remaining on scooter, saying how neat their stand has a drive-thru.

Best 50 cents i'd spent in a long time. Just to hear their thank you's and ma'am gave me hope for the future of our nation.

Re:We've all been there (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#43885127)

How many kids do you know with a wife and daughter?

As for silly little games, well, de gustibus, and all that. LunDOS looks rather interesting - you get DOS for all the old programs and games along with a basic GEM environment (familiar to me from years with an array of Atari ST's.) With networking. I wouldn't call that totally trivial by any stretch.

But then I probably missed your sarcasm. So sue me.

Eat a dick (-1, Flamebait)

comrade k (787383) | about a year ago | (#43881973)

Bryan, just keep your software proprietary. No one gives a shit about it anyway.

You've tried pulling this shit before. [thepowerbase.com]

Re:Eat a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43882007)

You don't seam to like the idea that you are free to do what you want with the things you create. Instead you would like Bryan to just give you whatever he produces as charity, because that's how all the software you use is produced. Everything is just an apt-get away. Oh wait, looks like someone actually wants to make money on his software while at the same time making an effort in contributing to free and open source. That's just sick. How dare he do something like that?

Or you behave as a grownup and thank Bryan for his contributions; takes it or leaves it.

Re:Eat a dick (0)

comrade k (787383) | about a year ago | (#43882083)

nah, I think I'm just going to tell him to eat a dick for his ransomware. Bryan, eat another dick for this guy too.

Re:Eat a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43882107)

https://github.com/BryanLunduke/ [github.com]

It is available on GitHub. Take it or leave it.

Re:Eat a dick (0)

comrade k (787383) | about a year ago | (#43882163)

Bryan, I think I'll chose to leave it. Your past actions have sullied any interest I have in your crapware.

Anybody need a domain name? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881979)

lunduke.com expired on 5/31/2013. His timing for self-promotion couldn't be better.

Re:Anybody need a domain name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43882391)

seriously, how many of us are trying to buy this and redirect it to goat.se ?

Re:Anybody need a domain name? (1)

cshark (673578) | about a year ago | (#43882541)

Is goat.se still around?

Re:Anybody need a domain name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43882523)

Nah it's just parked. Apparently the guy took it down when he discovered the internet never forgets.

It's a great idea (4, Insightful)

cshark (673578) | about a year ago | (#43882533)

except that it never happens.
Awhile back, I donated $15 to a fairly widely used open source program. I got the nicest thank you letter from the author. Turns out, that in the five years he had been soliciting donations on his website, that I had been the second person in the history of the project to donate anything to it. This program had over a million downloads, by the way. With this in mind, I made sure to donate small amounts to other open source projects I wanted to see keep going. Out of six of them, I received four letters stating basically the same thing. Maybe times have changed, and maybe oss software writers have become savvier when it comes to things like mailing lists and social media for soliciting. Crowd funding certainly has changed the way these things work as well. But in general, I suspect that things are probably the same as they've ever been. And that simply asking for donations just doesn't work.

Almost never happens... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884093)

Yes, that's pretty my experience with AUCTeX as well. About 4 donations in about 8 years, something like 200+50+10+10 (the 200 being billed to some college institute using the software).

Currently I am living off working on GNU LilyPond, and the way this works (at a rather modest pay level) is basically community blackmail: I've made very clear on the project mailing list that the project was siphoning off enough of my time that I'd either need to get paid for it, or stop working on it completely.

So far, this arrangement has worked for somewhat more than a year. The project is without convincing competition among Free Software (and actually also gives most commercial software a run for the money), and I am by far the most active developer (about 25% of the current commits). The financing model is incestuous in that the largest amounts come from people already heavily investing their own time into the project, and the payment structure is such that without those largest amounts the financing would break down.

There are things like a priest taking his vow of poverty and dispersing with some of his last money by handing it over to the project which helps him create printouts of music large enough for his brethren of worse eyesight.

Or people making a small inheritance and handing several thousands over. Or the original creators of the project supporting me. Or one of my largest regular supporters also being one of the most helpful power users on the mailing list (because much of his power became accessible through my work).

And with all that, I get about a fourth of what I last made in a "regular" job before taxes. And it really requires sending out monthly reports of what has been done, with the implicit plea to keep up or increase the level of support. Miss one such report, and donations easily drop by 30% next month.

Now both work and payment are strictly on contingency base: I am not playing access games of any sort. People don't pay me for past work, but in the expectation of work to continue, work that is then accessible to everyone. I can't deny that playing games with accessibility (like the Ardour project does for its financing, providing binary downloads only to paying customers while the sources are accessible under a free license) are reasonably successful, but they are just not what I want to be doing.

Not that I would be able to do so here since this is a multi-author project, but I also did not do this for projects fundamentally my own.

Re:Almost never happens... (1)

rusty (3244) | about a year ago | (#43887083)

My experience has been the same. I donated $50 to Cyanogenmod a couple of years ago (FFS, they saved my buying a new phone!) and got a delighted email from Steve Kondik.

I used to assume the FOSS world would be supported like the Linux kernel is, but now I realize that many cool projects need a user-funded model. I choose a project to donate to weekly, as well as supporting gittip.com. It's not much (and I hope to increase it markedly one day), but I want to live in a world where Free hackers can just hack, and not stress about money.

Cheers,
Rusty.
BTW I've never used GNU LilyPond, but I'm delighted such a thing thrives. Do you take BTC?

Re:Almost never happens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888109)

I choose a project to donate to weekly, as well as supporting gittip.com.

I see a load of projects for accepting small donations. Most of them, if you look closer, have themselves as the most-supported project, and have things like actually withdrawing donations (instead of letting some numbers accumulate) as a manual or otherwise discouraged process. Things like Kickstarter are mostly for funding a concrete goal rather than "personnel".

It's not much (and I hope to increase it markedly one day), but I want to live in a world where Free hackers can just hack, and not stress about money.

I don't see us getting there: corporate structures are somewhat successful at directing resources where there is an actual demand. And laws and trade structures very much favor models based on access restrictions, where payment changes hands in exchange for granting access. Which is exactly not what free software is about. And when we are talking about existing software, the only exchangeable item is access.

When talking about non-existing software, there is no exchangeable item apart from a promise. To make a promise account for something, you need to have something to show for it upfront. Indeed, I have seen a whole lot of people considering themselves to be capable doing a lot of things that they'll find out later are harder than they look.

Would you be paying somebody for a future concert who opines he will be a good violinist in about a year? It is not realistic to pay people without anything to show for it, not even credentials, so there will always be a phase where aspiring hackers are short of income.

BTW I've never used GNU LilyPond, but I'm delighted such a thing thrives.

Well, there are too few people working on such a huge project to really use the word "thrive" for characterizing it. It helps to have someone responsive when programmers and users are trying their hands on helping the project, but I'm embarrassingly far behind getting my own projects finished.

Do you take BTC?

Never tried so far. Do I need more than an Email account for collecting them? Of course, I'll need more in order to cash them.

DVD Flick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43887157)

The development for this excellent program has stalled and finally ceased. The source is posted and it's a great program - I'd like some recommendations of software like it. It takes just about any video format and loads it up into an easy to use step by step DVD video format for burning onto a DVD and watching on your computer or regular stand alone DVD player. It has no ads, works well, but could use some polishing.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?