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?

  • Hmm just googled MK321...


    Go away you have no credibility at all...

  • @jededitor

    We are discussing developing plugins for money and not my credibility. Let me know when you create a MK321 credibility discussion and I'll be there!.  What Bunch of Bullies !

    It's sad to see how confused you are.

    And no,  what the developers are offering is a service for professional hosting, on a different site [*.com], a consumable and I wish them the best.

    Considering that its their site(s) and their sorftware , they should be able to do whatever they want!

    Also everything is done within a certain licensing.  Very clear RULES, for me at least.

    In any case, I landed here because of the classifieds plug that was developed GPL, tested , bug fixed, and now the developer demands a contribution to deliver the next corrected version.

    Yes , a developer of a plugin is legally entitled under gpl to charge for his work, and I see nothing wrong with that.

    That said,  once you start doing it just for money,  I feel that the idea behind elgg starts to disintegrate.

    Collective development starts to slow down and there are plenty of examples of this.

    Because of your attitude I doubt I even  have a shot to make you understand what this discussion is about.

    But take a shot and try to elucubrate advantages and disadvantages.... just that.

  • Folks, let's not make this personal.

    I think everyone agrees that it is allowable by the GPL to charge for the distribution of GPLed software. I really doubt that anyone can make money that way as mentioned before.

    Whether Curverider wants people to use the plugin repository for selling plugins is an open question that can only be answered by them. As has been brought up before, it may not be permissible to sell commercial proprietary plugins for GPL software.

    Also, there is a big distinction between selling development time and charging for distribution of a plugin. At times, it seems that distinction was been lost in this discussion.

  • It is getting slightly out-of-hand :-)

    In my opinion this conversation is worn-out and only kept going by the fact that every so often some other person witha chip on their shoulder rather than in their computer comes along and stokes it up again using the same old tired arguements...

    Time to terminate any further additions to it I suspect.....

  • @jededitor:  not sure about terminatin; there are emotions around this topic and it needs a channel to let it out;)

    @all: We are paying developers to write plugins for us, good money for each hour. We do allow programmers to happily share the code with the public if they like. In some cases however, the code is ok for us, but still not elegantly usuable for the community. Then we balance the question to pay a even more to be able to contribute or not...

    1. All in all as we see it: it is ok to ask some contribution to development hours if the developer thinks they need the money to survive; 
    2. If the copyright holder decides to distribute, it should be free e.g. according to GPL

    Nobody can blame anyone else if we stick to these principles. We simply can not look in the heads and wallet of others nor should we want to. A free world and I am happy with it:)

  • @Skott I agree with you completely. I'd rather have more people pay one dollar for a plugin they like, than have them pay 10 or 100. The more people donate to the plugins they use, the more are created, the cheaper and better they can become. In the end, we all want Elgg to be better.


    @Cash thanks for your remarks.

  • I agree with a charge for custom work, but sometimes, some plugins are extremely simple to emulate and there are sold for considerable sums, to be a few lines of code, so I do not think it appropriate to charge, i mean .. . charge for hard work is a thing, but to exploit the ignorance of many users who know nothing of programming is something with which I disagree

  • INFO a program released under the GPL uses plug-ins, what are the requirements for the licenses of a plug-in?

    It depends on how the program invokes its plug-ins. If the program uses fork and exec to invoke plug-ins, then the plug-ins are separate programs, so the license for the main program makes no requirements for them.

    If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make function calls to each other and share data structures, we believe they form a single program, which must be treated as an extension of both the main program and the plug-ins. This means the plug-ins must be released under the GPL or a GPL-compatible free software license, and that the terms of the GPL must be followed when those plug-ins are distributed.

    If the program dynamically links plug-ins, but the communication between them is limited to invoking the ‘main’ function of the plug-in with some options and waiting for it to return, that is a borderline case.

  • Oh...
    My God...!
    Forgive us our sins... simply because we must pay rent $...
    That guy who who hides behind the "HOMER" icon strikes again ...!
    Oh Dear God, please rid us of all evil..
    Maybe one day., we will see a Real Profile Picture and a Real EMail address..

    Och ...
    Mój Boże ...!
    Przebacz nam nasze grzechy ... po prostu dlatego, że musi płacić czynsz $ ...
    To facet, który ukrywa się za "Homer" Ikona uderza ponownie ...!
    Och Boże, proszę nas pozbyć wszelkiego zła ..
    Być może jeden dzień. Będziemy widzieć Real Profile Picture i prawdziwy adres e-mail ..\


  • @MzStudios Some things that look simple aren't simple at all. No plugin I sell is a simple few lines of code addition. I'd pay for each one of them a lot more than their price is, simply because creating them and testing would take a lot more money in time than I could earn in the worst payed job I could imagine.


    @Dhrup, good translation ;)