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?

  • @Vazco
    Mój Boże ..
    Potrzebuję więcej pieniędzy zapłacić za mój, paszy moje dzieci ...
    Dziękuję Bogu
    . . .
    Bóg dał nam Elgg abyśmy mogli kodu
    Plug Ins dla pieniędzy i płacą czynsz i nakarmić dzieci!
  • Hi Guys:
            I think, i should also participate in this communication. Well i am not lawyer, so not an expert with all these terms and conditions of GPL.
    It's ok to get paid for developer's hardwork. According to my point of view about open source. There are lots of big communities who are working under open source. Like ubuntu, But i am sure, if you would go for their support. that will be quite expensive. So they are also making indirect money. They are also offering some certified courses for developers. That is also a way to make money.

    We are working on izap_videos plugin. And we had decided to support it for long and free for the community. This is how you guy get to know about our skills. In future, We have very exciting stuff coming soon. But we can ask some nominal price for that.

    Than where does the "izap_videos" play a role? It does, At least all of you know about the quality we can provide. At least you will have a faith of support.


  • @Vazco

    I check plugins you developed; vazco_mainpage it's a nice one, well, adding HTML areas to your mainpage is not a work who is going to take hours of hardwork, i mean anybody can do it by editing source on custom_index default mod, but, much people dont know and they has to pay 20USD to get it on a simple way. In the other hand some users dont want to know anything about php, or another languaje, they want everything easy, for free thats which i disagree...


  • vazco_mainpage is an excellent plugin and well worth the money. More so if you have an existing web site that you want to convert to a community.

    My own website ( is some 11Gb (39k Folders, 208k Files) in size and working with vazco_mainpage & vazco_topbar I converted the entire site to an elgg community in about an hour.

    God only knows how long it would have taken if I'd had to transfer everything to files or pages....

  • Hi,

    I'm an open source developer and I've already seen this discussions a lot of times on many open source projects.

    If a developer can/wants to release his works for free (as in "free beer"), it depends on many things:

    • is the work fully funded?
    • is the work potentially interesting for a large user base? This oftes means that the program must be developed and tested to be configurable/customizable from end-users without much efforts (this means much more work than a single-install solution)
    • is the work a potential customer honeypot? Will it attract customers for customization/assistance? In other words: will I sell services? This is certainly the case for curverider and for large software mantainers.

    I personally don't see any problem in selling free software, I've been developing GPL'ed free software in these variants:

    • free as in "free speech" and free as in "free beer" (90% of my works)
    • free as in "free speech" only (10% of my works)


    FSF has some bright FAQ entries on this issue:



  • So, after reading all of the above posts, I have one question.  If someone sells a plugin under GPL License can someone who bought that plugin turn around and give it away for FREE?

  • Okay.  Then if someone makes a plugin for a software that is under GPL then that plugin MUST be released under GPL?  Or is it up to the creator of the plugin to release it under GPL or not?

  • have a look here
    and here
    If you create GPL based software - you do not have to release it at all.. Also maybe you missed my (GPL-based) remarks earlier.. "It's ok to charge $ for our time. It's ok to upload GPL s/w for free, it's ok to charge a few $ for download costs.. it's not ok to demand GPL s/w for totally free.."

  • Yeah, I got that and I read  Maybe I need to go back and reread it.  I was just curious if a plugin that is attached to a GPL software HAD to be released under the GPL as well. 


    I could care less if someone sells it or gives it away.  Vazco does very nice work and I am going to purchase something through him that I tried and tried to figure out - but could not.