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The Almighty Buck Open Source

Funding Open Source By Donations: Lighting the Path 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."
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Funding Open Source By Donations: Lighting the Path

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  • Sooo.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 01, 2013 @02:39AM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 01, 2013 @02:41AM (#43881257)

    have a better track record than bryan lunduke.

    this same guy has been discussed here at /. previously

    • Re:step one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kthreadd ( 1558445 ) on Saturday June 01, 2013 @05:27AM (#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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      - Write Open Source Software
      - Be Profitable
      - Lunduke

      Pick two.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday June 01, 2013 @02:44AM (#43881273) Homepage

    Now, at last you can contribute to something we've all wanted - a new FreeDOS distro. [] You can support his 20-line BBS [] 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • Ahead of our time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Saturday June 01, 2013 @03:30AM (#43881377) Journal

    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.

    • +5 Interesting

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

    • " 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.

    • by CBravo ( 35450 )
      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',
    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      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 spe

      • 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.

    • 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

    • 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 playe

  • 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.
  • That's nice... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkfeline ( 1890882 ) on Saturday June 01, 2013 @05:33AM (#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.
  • 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

    • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward expired on 5/31/2013. His timing for self-promotion couldn't be better.

  • It's a great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cshark ( 673578 ) on Saturday June 01, 2013 @09:59AM (#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.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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, th

      • by rusty ( 3244 )

        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 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 hac

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