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?

  • Hello people,

    I want to tell you all the way I work for money with elgg.

    I develop and make public full versions of plugins for the people to know me.

    I think that the open source bussines is service and not the product itself so I can talk by my own experience that the people get in contact with me  and hire me to develop plugins and site powered by elgg.

    So when I talk with a possible client I can show my profile or my plugins list developed in the community, so I let my possible client know that I'm elgg developer with experience.

    This is just the way I think.

  • @kozmic

    ".. what happens... ? "

    strange question....

    How do *you feed your family ?

  • Developing on the idea, an app store could have the option of having plug-ins (optionally) reviewed and critiqued- perhaps conformed or certified for conformity to an "elgg-certified" coding standard, or just listed as delivered at the users risk.

    Presumably some adherence to a coding standard and a QA process represents an independent value proposition. Certified plug-ins could command a premium, and the QA and certification  authority could maybe charge a little for the service- would help develop high quality "industrial" plug-ins without stifling creativity, and provide a means to "productionise" them that could also benefit the innovator? Maybe even provide a guarantee of support in the vent that the creator lapses in term of support? Obviously some widely used GPL plug-ins might be QA'd anyway for no cost just because they become ubiquitous and benefit everyone. Something like this would give someone just wants to use them much greater confidence 

    The community could develop and debate a coding standard, and asist people with conforming to it, without insisting that they must.

    I take your point about size of community, buts it's growing fast, and anything that allows greater confidence and transparency. Getting some of these aspects in place fairly early might actually help it grow, then everyone benefits.


  • Who wants to take chances with the Open Source without consulting a professional regarding security. Open Source is given as is while a professional should guaranty a level of safety. Concluding that the paid plugin/theme should exist and most likely will make money.

    Keynote: all your work developing a community will turn into dust just because you forgot about security implementation.

  • Where is that button "Donate to keep this project alive"

  • Lively's post:


    One of the reasons I gave up on a another agressivley developed platform was this very issue,, once what was all OS and freebies started becoming all commercial.

    Ok I have no problem with financial investments and supporting the work, but in my case,, $ 15 here or $ 50 there over a two year period I sent 500 to 1000 dollars. what made me leave was that all these commercial versions eventually got dropped as the author would move on to larger opportunities and drop support,, but the core platform would still move forward with security upgrades. and suddenly all that money spent on mods was pointless as the last good mod script would no longer work with the upgraded platform. 

    but do what you must do.  and thank you for all your work on these mods

  • GenuineUK's post:

    Making contributions or payments for code is the way to apply a value to the effort of the coder and the quality of the job.

    I appreciate the fact that alot of these widgets are free, but I am also not averse to spending a little money to have a properly coded app, as well as some support if things don't go to plan.


  • Jimbob's post:

    Shame - ah well never mind. Perhaps I should start charging for ideas?

  • Modifying open source code with the purpose of selling it and, furthermore, preventing further development of that code is not acceptable within the open source community.

    In essence, that’s what some modders are doing. The ones that are “piggy backing” off a free mod are taking an open source product and making a proprietary one out of it. That’s not right!

  • This topic really is starting to grate on me and no doubt many others, as it is negatively impacting on what elgg is today and that is a much better platform than many others out there.

    So then kosmic, you have all the answers or you're a dog with a bone and won't let go, you have made your opinions known, with the majority disagreeing with your main opinion.

    If you don't like it, leave elgg as nobody is forced to come or stay.

    If in your eyes the way coders take certain (often older elgg version) scripts and modify them to a much higher standard; resulting in a much higher end usable plugin is wrong / unethical, the door is easy to locate is it not?

    After all, we're here to create elgg site's for the end user aren't we???

    You really need to let it go now, you have aired your opinion it seems till you're blue in the face, it's certainly not healthy for the elgg community and is frankly getting tedious.

    Stop your whining and let the elgg guys create a system they feel is just and warranted, including as has been mentioned aCommercial Script Centre and possibly elgg certified but until then just enjoy it for christ sake fella!!

    There are way too many other more life changing events going on around the world and to millions of people, this is frankly not important.

    "If something isn't broke, don't try to fix it"