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?

  • To give you all a little insight on an EXAMPLE of opensource and the GNU General Public Licensed software. This FAQ might help a bit:

    With regards to "selling" or distrubution. Take particlular note of:


    IMHO, all the above examples would apply to elgg. Further I would HIGHLY recommend you consult your lawyer or solicitor on the matter.


  • openminds:

    Hey vazco,

    nice plugin... but i would have been better if u would have released it free, rather than selling... this place is for contribution, not for doing business..... There are lots of people woking hard for plugin development... and u guys are selling it... strange.....

  • @vazco,

    I've been dealing with opensource software since 1987. Frankly, IMHO mentioning pricing and "baiting" people on an opensource forum to buy your full version is a little rude. I think that's where some people are having a bit of a problem.

  • Is it really any different than offering MySQL and MySQL Enterprise where you have to pay for the Enterprise version?

  • @Cash, I wonder what the licensing will look like if and when Orcle purchases Sun Microsystem, current owners of the MySQL intellectual property?

  • Quick Q - Aren't there Lots of Open Source Operating Systems that are free to download but then if you want much more out of the free version, especially if you are a business of some form. There are hundreds if not thousands of company's out there offering commercial services for the like of Linux and it's variants for e.g.?

    I see on the whole no difference whatsoever and can't understand why people would complain, if you don't like it / believe in it don't buy in to it.

    If you don't want to be "baited" as you put it, then don't buy them but understand other's will purchase plugins they NEED with the advanced functionality. People cannot have it all their own way and that includes on here, there's many nationalities, many varying experienced people, many varying backgrounds yada yada....

    Therefore surely it's as simple as, those who don't want to, don't believe in or don't agree with delivering free open source elgg plugins, that have commercial versions as an upgrade.... simply don't buy them as it's your choice not to of course but don't try to preach your belief's to those that DO see the benefit for their SITES to purchase commercial plugin upgrades.

    Afterall isn't it about putting elgg to use for OUR SITE's and USERS firt and foremost?!!!

    Lastly I know I would want my users to have the best social networking platform features and functionality, that surpasses a high % of other competitor's if possible and this means mixing totally free OS plugins with some OS / Commercial Upgrade plugins.

    Just my opinion people.

  • @BraveStar:

    Regarding your ".. finished with a nearly identical programming for my side. But I never would sell it..." I look forward to your programming on the PlugIns Pages.. Seems to be nothing by you not there yet...

  • @Bravestar & Openminds

    Grow up sunshine. People have to make a living - perhaps you would rather he slowly starved to death while maintaining your high moral principles?

    As the person who paid him to create the plugins technically I owned the plugin but I told him to go ahead and sell versions of it to make himself some money. So if you want to pick on someone have a go at me....

  • Let me simplify this, if you want to produce plugins and widgets for the community then more power to ya. Thats what keeps the "message alive". But if you have noticed once a plugin has been put out for download, then the requests come flooding in, "can you make it do this and make it do that ect" Thats all well and good, but once someone actually contacts you direct for a custom mod for ther site, then all bets are off. I say go ahead and charge, especially if its being used to drive revenue. No one is obligated to supply the community, they do it for the love of it, but on the same note, if you contact me and want me to spend hours creating something custom for you, then, you have to pay because I gotta eat.

    Vasco has a great idea with what hes doing.  I have no issue paying for what hes done becaue it saves time and there for saves money.

    Just my 2 cents