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 is very good at what he does.. just does not get due respect. For projects I do for my clients, if I run short on time. I *will get him for paid help. That's how good I think he is.

  • @Crusader - If I write a plugin and deploy it on a site and do not distribute it, that code can be considered proprietary and is not under the GPL. If later I decide to distribute that plugin, it must take on the GPL (at least that is the common interpretation of plugins and the GPL). 

    No one can force you to distribute code that you wrote.

  • Thanks Cash, I appreciate your straight answer.

  • Is only for vazco's plugins?

    If we're talking about commercial plugins, how about we have some kind of market place for plugins where users can buy from a variety of plugin authors. It'd also be a good platform for developers to have an easy system to work with to publish their plugins. Hey, we can even base it all on Elgg with some ecommerence integration (I know that some of you are working on it! ;)) and then we can have developer rating, plugin feedback, etc.

  • *is Vazco's commercial site for Elgg PlugIns. Being an Elgg developer myself who makes serious money from Elgg Projects -- like him..

    I endorse his efforts 200%. I have had several communications with him with respect to coding for Elgg PlugIns.

    I admire his work and.. as I have said elsewhere, He does not get enough credit for his hard work.

    I have no wish to compete with him in his commercialization efforts.

    He *might want to open up for other developers to offer free and commercial featured versions of PlugIns. I wish everyone the best in making a few extra $$ to pay for rent and food.

  • @jededitor

    What i tried to explain, it's that some plugins are easy to emulate by knowing a little bit ot php, javascript and XML

  • Hi, my name is Michael King.

    I'm the guy that originally coded the Myspace Content Grab class. I've seen a lot of negative comments aimed at Dhrup about how he's used my class.

    I'm not sure how too take it, personally I find it insulting.
    Firstly, I want to thank Dhrup for using my class.
    Secondly, I want to thank him again for keeping the copyrights there.
    Thirdly, I put it on PHP Classes to get used, whats with the complaints?

    At the end of the day, I've given Dhrup my blessing to continue coding.
    And if anyone has any complaints, email me at my googlemail account. 
    (check copyright for address)

  • I really think this boils down to just a few small issues, people don't read, don't understand, and/or don't care, about how the licensing systems work.  If everyone did, the ONLY bitching here, would come from the people who want EVERYTHING for free.  Just my opinion.

  • I think this issue has been discussed in most opensource community. To avoid all the mis-understanding It will be better if use elgg dot org only for free stuff and provide other as the commercial site. Developer who provide a free stuff will get help from the users for test, to find bugs, feed back etc. to improve their commercial version.

    The developers have the freedom if they want to get paid for their commercial version, as long as they also keep all previous credits in their source code.

    To make it it simple just mentioned that stuff is a free version rather than say it is not for production and have to pay full version for the production site.

    A free version with basic features but can be used for production site on the other hand will be a good promotion for the developers itself. Other dev also can use it to build their own rather code it from the scratch. Thats all the beauty of opensource concept.

    Just my 2c