Has anyone thought about employing a different business model than the one currently available?

I am a massive OpenSource fan but often feel that OpenSource does not protect itself to those outside a projects community. Often a few hardcore developers and minds give all to what is essentially a majority of leachers.

I have been a fan of contribution based licensing for several years now and have been perplexed why this model hasn't received adoption.

For me it would seem the focus of OpenSource is of a code repository and strangely the community often takes a back seat. The community can often contribute with many methods and it is not just a few developers who have worth to the community.
Documentation, Idea's, plugins, core, help all have worth to the community and there are many ways to contribute and make contribution easy and beneficial to the community.

I have a head full of idea's on the needs and rational of collaboration contribution networks, where I am eagerly awaiting the release of Ellg 2.0. My interest is in advocacy and digital assemblies but have always seen strong parallels to the OpenSource community itself.

We don't have to break any of the ideals of OpenSource by returning to a fiscal commercial operation as we can trade merit, we have earned in the community. We don't need to exclude those who may need the support of fiscal methods, so they can continue a level of contribution.

The project can offer all contribution on a trial period, that allows merit to be earned to gain a contribution licence. If you don't want to contribute and be one of those horrid leachers :) subscriptions could provide alternative revenue to help maintain a community and allow it to flourish.

Simply, contribution licencing is a different business model that sits between "Free as beer" and "Commercial" and is a bridge between the two, so that one model is not excluded from the other.

Anyway just a thought and like I say, I am perplexed to why it isn't employed as many of the methods are already contained especially in a "Social Network" such as Ellg.


[migrated from a comment.]

  • Interesting.
    As a matter of fact, I'm actually feeling not so good about not being able to contribute enough and to be considered as a leacher. At this moment, my contribution is limited to translating, occasional plugins, small bugs I can spot and occasional advice on questions asked here.
    In the last years, I gained a lot of knowledge about elgg and programming and I'm feeling that I'm finaly on a way where I could start contributing back to the community, but still.

    After all those years here, I don't feel my website is ready enough to launch even in a beta stage, so I keep working on it.
    I am pretty aware that some key plugins I will use in the final website I'm making come from some key developers here in the community, and I really like to do something back.
    I was thinking about two ways to give back to certain developers here in the community for example.

    1. Either give something back with something I 'can' do. I'm a designer for example, so I could do some professional designwork for either the community or the developers I use plugins off, but it seems that it's not very needed here, so I was thinking about something else.
    2. At the moment I'm thinking about a certain payment model (call it more a donation model) where I'm willing to donate some developers and the community here from the moment my website is launched and it's starting to make profit.
      I've been thinking of donating a percentage of my profits if I ever make some.

    I'll give an example: my website is a hobby project and I don't have a budget, nor a commercial plan to go with it. I'd like to get it launched once and I'm thinking of making a profit on it, whenever it seems that the website get's used and it's profitable.
    IF that will be the case, I'm more then happy to donate both to elgg, and to some keydevelopers I use open-source plugins off.
    I'd be willing to give 50% of my profit back to the opensource developers and to the Elgg organisation that made my website succesful up to a certain amount.

    If it's a big fail, I will cut my fingers, but not extremely hard, it's mainly a lot of time and resources I lose.
    If it's a success, the people who helped it make a success by offering their code will gain together with me and will be stimulated to keep offering their code open-source. To me, that looks like a win-win situation.

  • knowing that love does not compromise and since i consciously choose love over 'not love' - i advocate for the transformation of society to be 'open source' (free and liberated) - rather than compromising what little open and free things there are to attempt to fit in with the entirely corrupt and broken 'legacy' system of finance.

  • If you're talking about putting a different license on the Elgg framework, I think immediately someone would fork the project at the last MIT-licensed version and no one would use "Elgg" anymore. And much of the bundled plugins are GPL-licensed, so they couldn't be included AFAICT.

    A lot of contributors are being paid either directly, inderectly, or are earning marketable skills in the process. I don't know any who see non-contributors as "leeching".

    People aren't contributing effort for a lot of reasons, one being the process is a minefield of rules to get Travis-CI to pass tests. Some of those hurdles make generating the changlog easier; but if they turn away developers that's very bad. But that's another topic...

  • "rather than compromising what little open and free things there are to attempt to fit in with the entirely corrupt and broken 'legacy' system of finance".

    Its not a matter of fitting with an entirely corrupt and broken 'legacy' system of finance, sadly the small and isolated opensource communities are outnumbered and surrounded, where it is impossible to "fit out".

    It is always a matter of a mutual benefit exchange, can not remember if it was Tutu or Mandella, "Ubuntu is, I give the man a glass of water, because tomorrow I know he brings me fish".

    I mention Ubuntu as its a really good example of what you might call a "leachers" network where at least with desktop and end users, it is slightly saddening the "Free" model has been a relative failure.

    I am not saying any licence should be enforced or scrapped, but allow additional forms to co-exist and make it very easy for developers to have a choice of distribution. Often success has been a blend of mutual benefit exchanges and commercial activity without enforcing any form of exclusion.

    "At this moment, my contribution is limited to translating, occasional plugins, small bugs I can spot and occasional advice on questions asked here." that is contribution and the level of contribution should be flexible and set by the community.

    "Leacher" might be the wrong term, often though to take for personal advantage without contribution has no benefit to the contributors, but this is all personal opinion. A collaborative contribution network isn't a penalty to the non-contributor its a benefit to the contributor and acts as a catalyst for input into the community.

    Its a tribal thing and "very" Ubuntu as no tribe will tolerate poaching to the advantage of another without some sort of mutually advantageous agreement.

    These things as I say all down to personal opinion and many differences in opinion are often available and I am not saying there should be any change, but just the ability for other methods to co-exist.

    So far the successful coupling of free and commercial activity that has resulted in a thriving and diverse developer network has been the adoption of a app store of various licensing models. Usually free or commercial and I just thought I would mention a third based on contribution that helps protect and encourage a community. It allows a developer to freely share with the community and create a bit of revenue from the non-contributor.
    The levels of contribution, fiscal cost and what is free should be left open to choice and that is what it is about, choice.

    Anyway just a thought, an idea shared and a contribution, if even a poor one :)




  • Its not a matter of fitting with an entirely corrupt and broken 'legacy' system of finance, sadly the small and isolated opensource communities are outnumbered and surrounded, where it is impossible to "fit out".

    i disagree with that. open source is the only sane way to develop software effectively. it is that in the 'offline world' the people who are addicted to money and who have been made artificially dependent on it (and are thus controlled) outnumber the rest, plus that the ones with the most guns also aim to have the most money. simple social physics.

    the essence of ubuntu is "if it's not good for all, it's not good at all" - this is even one of the footer messages on my elgg site.

    by preventing commerce within the codebase, there is incentive to prevent exploitation of good will among coders. the benefit in us learning the corruption of money and moving to a contribution based ethic of sharing, in general, on earth - massively outweighs the benefit of short term 'imagined' 'financial gain'.

    the money systems on earth are almost entirely based on fraud, which has now been proven with empirical evidence by a well known professor of economics; there is no way around this and if we want to do anything to improve life on earth, this must be addressed with full integrity and total absence of compromise.

  • Cheers guys for the replies,

    I use the term "Leecher" in a form of hackerspeak and internet jargon and it sounds much stronger than it actually is. Being a "Leecher" can be quite unintentional and not even realized.

    I am a leecher from Bodhi to Ubuntu and the whole desktop repo's software. My usual Libreoffice, Gimp, Scribus, Dia and others setup that I forget.
    I guess I have made contributions in a way, as I do voluntary work as a sys admin for community center for the underprivileged and I have given up ranting and raving about the free model and how ridiculous it is to offer free training of commercial software to the subset of people we deal with.
    I fought valiantly for five years but Lancashire County Council Adult education are M$ trained and the worst thing is that career wise they see "commercial software" as there best option, irrespective of the people they are training.

    So after that please don't think I am a commercial advocate in anyway.

    Ura, I worked out in South Africa in 98, 99 and I will quote Mandella, but I will not stipulate what Ubuntu is as it can not be defined in a western mindset as culturally it is different. Shuttleworth's adoption is just one adoption, but in no way in any manner is Ubuntu "if it's not good for all, it's not good at all" as that is dictate and control of what is good and actually that is very much a polar opposite.

    ​It would seem with "Ubuntu" and Leecher I have picked two extremely bad descriptive's that have very complex philosophic origins that are way beyond the context and my rationale of this thread.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(philosophy) if anything shows that Ubuntu doesn't have a definitive, its focus is tribal and community based in some form of mutual benefit network that has multiple layers of context of the tribe, being anything from immediate family, village to much larger and complex eco systems.

    I like what Michelle wrote as its the paradox of Stallmans "Free as beer" mode, in that he seems to believe he has somelevel of ownership to it and now charges consultation fee's.
    I am not a fan of Stallman to be honest or in my opinion of the alternative world domination idea's that use relative innocuous words that translate into the dangerous words of dictate and control.
    But each to there own, accept diversity, but cut the righteousness and religious like zeal of what is purely opinion.

    Eric S. Raymond is more my style of open source, where user led contribution can lead to more efficient and better software. But even Raymond at times seems to pander to control and status and maybe gets things wrong.

    Again, its context and complex and just what you give away, or is status part of a mutual benefit network, where benefit is just the context of the community at that time and part of a peer review method?
    I dunno, to be honest and its not that I haven't thought about it, or at least I am aware of it.

    I have used Joomla and Wordpress which without a Google are top of the league opensource web applications with extremely diverse developer networks. The framework with both is free and with Wordpress they did something very interesting as it was a very early adoption of Software-as-a-Service which was an alternative revenue stream. Both offer a diversity of services, books, plugins on various levels of free and commercial offerings.
    I feel part of the success of the pair was that relatively quickly and without much pain, you could grab a generic piece of software throw in a few plugins of choice and with a little bit of dev work you could quickly and efficiently provide a specific and tailored solution.
    Both frameworks are free, but in general many of the successful sites incorporate commercial plugins that are hacked or native to make a solution in the most efficient manner possible.
    Its the efficiency of being able to reuse code that allows possibilities, as any time or effort has cost and its cost that stops those possibilities.

    Its the feedback network of multiple users in a mutual benefit exchange of use, bug checking, development and reuse, where economies of scale have provided some extremely effective low cost solutions.

    What I dislike about the Wordpress / Joomla models is that they are far from free when it comes to a working solution. My biggest bugbear is that many of the plugins do not have a free 100% functional offering, in some sort of trial model. It really winds me up to purchase a plugin purely to check if its what I need and find that actually, I interpreted its functionality wrong. It conflicts with other plugins or generally after use you realize its a bit ropey.

    Nothing is free as everything is a matter of time, time costs resources irrespective of money and those projects have been a success because of efficiency and not anything to do with being free or licensing model.  


  • in no way in any manner is Ubuntu "if it's not good for all, it's not good at all" as that is dictate and control of what is good and actually that is very much a polar opposite.

    no, you are judging and projecting an interpretation onto the definition i have given, for your own reasons here.

    there is nothing inherently controlling or dictating about the definition i have used here. the definition is not saying that 'everyone must do and be the same', rather, the definition is saying that if an individual makes choices that are not good for any other individual, then those choices are not good. this is an easy to understand expression of the understanding that balance requires that no part overpowers any other part.

  • i suggest listening to some of michael tellinger's words on finance and 'money' - he runs the ubuntu politcal party in south africa. here he is speaking on taking on the corrupt banking system and retrieving the stolen power to create money: https://www.ureka.org/videos/watch/10166/how-to-create-your-own-promissory-notes-michael-tellinger

  • on the topic of 'nothing being free' - that is a misunderstanding, based on limited and limiting belief systems. when we allow our own energy and thinking to be truly free, we are able to align with our own true passions and in doing so we open up new opportunity that did not exist previously. this process is extremely powerful and yet many of us have never done it or even seen it done 100% effectively. when we are fully aligned and only doing what we need to do, we are also doing what we want to do - since the two are found to be one and the same. in this state, creation is effortless and without any cost at all. 'time' is a created concept which can be dispensed with through understanding that the eternal now moment is all we have, in that sense. this is not philosophy or day dreaming, rather it is direct cognition of the physics on a soul level. ura soul ;)

  • Yeah, forgot the Stallman and money thing as to be honest I do not want to go there either really.

    It was just an interesting topic that is all and there is always the interest in that somehow software provision seems to infringe on some sort of belief system. But yeah maybe we should leave that behind for now, I will always discuss it and and if the community has voices maybe make a group called the lounge we more general chats can take place.
    I hope there isn't any censorship or dictate to topic as for me personally that is a fundamental belief, there is no right or wrong, just the opinion of a community in terms of worth at anyone time.

    I am 47 now but 17 years ago I would of considered myself to be able able to hold my own in Microsoft RAD (Rapid application Development). I am a DB guy really, who would use VB, Access and ASP as a front end.
    RAD was quite funny as anything from E commerce to a portal of some type would take anything from months to years depending on the resources of the dev group. RAD Pfff, to be honest the Access run time was the only thing that could create relatively complex apps in a couple of days at that time.

    Free offerings did exist but to be honest it was ease and speed of creation that was the predominant form of success for the likes of Joomla & Wordpress. Being free helped and nothing works in isolation and success is often a number of factors.
    Again if I have expressed a wrong choice of words then apologies once more, ease and speed in my opinion can be termed as efficiency. Free that needs time, has cost.
    I was more of a Joomla person, I will admit but both in a free form could in an extremely quick, bang, bosh be up and running in what I call a 80-20 rule. Again my wordage is crap, but the base of 20% would cover 80% of the functionality needs and for many it was enough.
    Dev's and designers for many are extremely expensive and as a Dev it is sometimes very hard to justify against packages such as EasySocial as the will even install it for 149$.
    It does cost but like guys with the amount of work needed irrespective of the evils of money, what could you provide for $149 and sometimes that is when "Free" isn't efficient and maybe not a success.
    Its all economies of scale and how efficient you can knock up something fit for purpose and irrespective of belief we all have to work from those constraints.

    Going back to the main topic, is that my point of view is that contributor licencing is an extension of the free model. Its not like Easy Social where it is purely commercial, but allows a commercial model and also promotes community contribution to enhance economies of scale.

    If "Free" with developer time is vastly more expensive than "Free" with commercial products, which is the most efficient and best choice for the customer who has your trust?
    I have often thought there might be better ways than the two polar camps of "Free" and "Commercial" where you could have both based on your choice of interaction with the project.

    How about a "Free" model that negates money and encourages contribution, whilst still returning revenue streams from those who choose otherwise?                

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