Free at the Point of Download

Yesterday I posted an entry about how I felt that commercial economics should be more widely employed in the FOSS world and that it’s our failure as a community to engaged appropriately with non-material-contributing users in such a way as to make our material contributions more economically sustainable.

Some took this to mean that I was a dangerous capitalist (ironic for those who know my as the dangerous socialist).

OK let’s make one thing clear, I do _not_ advocate for the sale of something that is already paid for. And by that I mean that someone else already put the money or time into making something FOSS and has graciously licensed it for download.

If you need to spend full time on a project to make it a success then you have no choice but to find a way to make money. My proposals so far have been more about promoting the idea of paying for the _creation_ of software than about the rather more impossible _distribution_ of software. To do that would be to make something artificially scarce.

There must be a way to see users in different lights, they are: users, potential contributors, potential inverters and a source of problems. If you can turn every Ubuntu user into a contributor then that’s great, it’s healthy for the ecosystem and it’s growth and I know it’s great for the education of the contributors. On the other hand if you don’t have time to contribute then the next best thing to invest is damned money. Paying for someone else’s time can get you that contribution and it can even be more meaningful since the people who your paying can be highly skilled and your simply saving them from a life of non-foss development.

I’ve not yet given up the hope that we _can_ find a way to have fair Free Software development that pays the bills and delivers freedom.