Developing plugins for money - advantages and disadvantages

You can find original discussion here:


Just to follow on my comment re the front page commercial mod and charging for mods to be used on  open source platforms.

If you and other mod developers charge for mods that are created for open source platforms in the thoughts that you should be rewarded for your time and effort, then does this not mean that dave and everyone who created elgg and are working hard to advance the system for free should charge for additional updates and only supply the original core platform for free?

trademark an hour ago

In case there was any doubt about this, Curverider, the developers of Elgg, do have paying clients. LIke many other open source developers, they release much of their paid work as free plugins with their client's blessing.

Kevin Jardine 35 minutes ago

This is a discussion that will always popup on opensource projects. There are always people who will try to make money, but that is a good situation. It means that people are going to take the product seriously.

On the other hand, if everyone would charge money for their plugins, then Elgg wouldn't be that good/popular/accessible as it is right now. The best thing we could wish for is that people pay us for development, and that we could share with the community for free. I'm trying to do just that.

If you are trying to make a living out of Elgg, you need to charge money for your work. This can be done in various ways. Vazco's way is one of them. Dave's team also can't do it for free (check out

Just a side note, vazco published his main_pagewidgets plugin under GPLv2, so you can use it and modify it so it will work without the limitations. GPL is also one of the terms of uploading plugins on

Jeroen Dalsem 29 minutes ago

Jeroen has made an important point. Open source developers can develop a business (and feed their families) by charging for development time, not for software. Many of my plugins have features paid for by multiple paying clients. That way the software just gets better and better and everyone benefits.

(Why is this a page by the way? Forum posts can be edited, but not page comments ...)

Kevin Jardine 18 minutes ago


Cost of developing the mainpage widgets mod would be 100-150$ if I couldn't resell it. This is the cost not everyone can afford. This what I give to people by writing commercial mods is a choice. Everyone can buy a mod which otherwise would not exist in the community, and can buy it  for one tenth of it's development price. They can also download demo versions without the full functionality for free, under the GPL license.

If I couldn't make money from my work, I wouldn't write plugins. I think everyone's work should be appreciated. Curverider earns money, and they created Elgg to earn money. They serve big companies and organizations. My aim is to help those who don't have so much money to afford Curverider's complex services. Noone here is a non-proffit organization. People who use Elgg, very often do it for money as well.

If I didn't take money from my work, my work simply would not be available in the community. My plugins give people better choice. They give chance to develop plugins for a smaller fees as well.

vazco 18 minutes ago

Kevin, your way is good too. I already created a few plugins which were paid by the development time.

This what I did with the vazco_mainpage is an experiment. When payed for a development, one person pays for something everyone uses. Commercial plugins allow to split the costs. I plan to get similar proffit from the commercial plugins that I would get from the plugins I develop for the client.


We can move this discussion to the forum. Do you know any group suitable for this?

vazco 9 minutes ago

Perhaps the plugin development forum?

  • All i have to say is elgg development is making significant progress, and well becoming an attractive established open source platform.

    It could be benefical to elgg if the mods that require payment are moved and seperated onto a different site, from my experience of a varity of platforms elgg may run the risk of having its fine reputation damaged by fleeting mod creators who come in take the money and run,..(it does happen) then these boards could be overrun with detrimental messages.

    Im not saying the current mod creators would do this...but its well worth thinking about for the future.

    But thats just my 2p




  • Interesting...

    Every time someone anyone wants me code a new feature plug-in for $ 0.00 I wanna ask that someone anyone if their rent = $ 0 and they pay $ 0 for for their grocery bill and their kids go to to college for $ 0 ?

    different site ? sure !

    come on over and we can all talk it over and out..

    or else.. maybe i gotta do a new site -- ""   lol   ;-O)


  • @ everyone
    open source ?
    free plugins ?
    so one day soon...
    i will pay $ 0 to walmart for grocery
    i will pay $ 0 to the bank for mortgage
    i will pay $ 0 to the college for my kids' education
    and of course then i will code plugins also for $ 0

    btw - just like for vazco and many others.. people do actually pay me $$ for my ideas, while i also do serious elgg plugins code work for free for those that cannot afford...

    that's just the way life goes.......

  • Dhrup so what happens when other modders who believe in community spirit not for profit come along and make more free mods which maybe just like yours?

    Will you ditch them n run away into the ether?


  • Kosmic,

    You said someone can create mod like mine, and give it for free. This is true. It's unlikely though someone will fund the development of the mod he can buy for 1/10'th of the development value. It's hard to find a professional developer who will work for free.

    Paying for mods also increases the quality and safety of support for the mod. After you download a free mod, you're not sure it will be developed further, since it's creator may not have interrest in fixing bugs etc. When something is on sale, it's in creator's interrest to make it better and better.


    About the developers running away after selling the mod - it's easy to check user's reputation in Elgg's community. Simply do this before buying mod, and you'll be a lot safer.


  • @ Vasco

    You might support your mods, you cant speak for everyone though....ive bought several mods for phpfox b4...expensive ones and they've done a runner, you cant protect the community nor the reputation of elgg.

  • @ Kosmic, I am far from a well healed person creating my very first Social Networking site for my new business but there is always the old adage;

    If you disagree so strongly about something in life, do the only thing that will stop you needing to disagree so strongly about it over and over. That is to either look the other way or just leave by the "paid for plugins door" and make sure you shut it behind you! ;)


    We all take risks in life, where there is a product be it a free product to start with or like open source, there will always be takers, heartless and unscrupulous programmers etc but we can do something about it if we disagree with something so much, leave well alone and get on with your life without paid for plugins.... I will mix and match my site's plugins with free and paid for, all dependant on the quality, feature and functionality with my end users in mind and then weigh up the cost vs reward of my site paying out of my own skint pocket for said plugins.

    As they say, one get's what one pays for at times and I'm happy with that.

    The point has been aired with this discussion above but I think this kind of petty squabling and negativity is the kind of thing that will undo elgg, including certain point's of view.

    Of course nobody wants to see unscrupulous people take advantage but then nobody wants to see uneccessary negativity for such an awesome and furthering open source platform as elgg.

    You can't expect that if you cannot code something yourself and especially something that will give one's end users a vastly improved overall social network, to have that for free 100%.... risk vs. reward and speculate to accumulate in all walks of life.

    Regarding vazco, of course he is going to support his mods, if he couldn't be proud of his work, what is he bothering for? I enjoy what I do and I speak loudly and proudly of everything I do too, just like MANY people on mother earth do day in day out.

  • FIRSTLY, I dont think the thread is titled properly. I don not think the issue was about developing plugins for money BUT about posting plugins as "demo software" and asking for money for a full featured version.  This is where the problem is.

    I think it has a danger of destroying the spirit that makes elgg plugins as we have known them.

    Elgg is open source software

    Most publicly available plugins are open source as well. In fact, this is the first I have seen that is created as a demo and asks for money for a fully working product.

    I am a developer myself. I sometimes get projects for Elgg. I appreciate the fact that time, effort and skill is required to create something and it makes sense for someone to expect payment...

    I also acknowledge the fact that people spent time and effort to have the brilliant product we call Elgg. Up to today, I have always known by default that all plugins posted here are open source. I have never seen anyone post some condition for having a fully working product. This is where (I think) the problem is.

    Calling a demo plugin that then requires payment for full use,opensource is a bit devious.

    I dont believe it is proper for anyone to post a partially working code(particularly an ELgg Plugin) and place a condition of payment to get full use. This would not be the right platform to do my opinion. I think it would be better to have it in your profile and maybe advertise on the googlegroups if you have such products OR rather just have a plugin with its functions and leave out the bits of having to pay for this or that.

    We run the risk of making people mis-understand the plugins.

  • Maybe I have misunderstood, but this is what the Elgg website says:

    If you would like to contribute plugins to the Elgg project, please do so. The only thing we insist upon is that you release it under a GPL compatible license.

  • If it is the fact that the "Main Page Widgets Demo" was publicly released as an opensource plugin, technically, it is acceptable I think

    what then happens if another developer takes that Demo and extends on it with the exact same extra functionality that is being discussed, then releases it under the same license of the publicly available "Demo". Would it be and issue for the original developer? Would it be acceptable under GPL? What happens to the lost revenue due to an exact same functionality? The demo was GPL, after all.

    If all this is acceptable, then things may be a bit interesting. I have always known guys like Kevin do develop for commercial gain, but I have never seen anything to do to having to pay for functionality for his Calendar or Form plugin. Its nothing new. But its different from this situation where a plugin is uploaded, features are mentioned and then it is stated that the plugin has limited functionality. Full functionality would require payment.

    If my opinions are wrong, I stand corrected.