We all come across hundreds of programs every day, where some are free, while others are paid. There is also a third variety of programs, which are open source. I have written a dedicated article where I have elaborated the difference between different types of programs, and you can find that here. Talking about open source programs, those programs are free to use, and you can even deep fry the source code to rejoice your taste buds. In the case of open source programs, a big group of enthusiastic programmers keeps the project alive by maintaining development and offer updates from time to time.
While talking about how the developers of programs make money, there are numerous revenue structures of the developers is freeware and paid programs. Freeware programs can also have a paid or premium version, from which the developers can earn for their hard work. Money is no doubt the driving force for the economy, and getting money for developing programs keep motivating the developers to keep developing. But how the developers of the open source programs earn money? They obviously earn money but in a different way rather than pushing frequent notifications to the freeware users for upgrading to the premium version or by collecting data about the user and then use them to generate targetted advertisements.
How do open source developers make money?
So let’s find out the different channels how the developers of the open source programs make money.
Payment and donation from big companies and end users
There are a number of companies who pay the open source programmers for the purpose of development. Noted companies like Linux Foundation, Google and others keep paying the programmers or developers so that they keep up their active pace of developing the projects, and make patches for the problems that appear in the programs. There are even some companies, which offer the open source programs with the hardware they manufacture, and in such cases, as well, those companies pay handsomely to the open source programmers to fix the patches and optimize the open source programs for their hardware.
Apart from that, end users can even donate the open source developers, and you might be already acquainted with the donation page while downloading Ubuntu. That being said, open source programmers also get donations from different companies and corporates.
Earning by modifying codes
There are a number of organizations, which use open source programs for their requirements, and sometimes, the programs can also need some minor modifications or changes to suit the company’s needs. If it isn’t an IT or computer-based company using the open source software, that will be a difficult task for the companies to hire a team of developers and ask them to modify the code. In such cases, the companies using open source programs can ask the developers of the same to modify the codes as per the needs of the company or organization.
If you have your small firm as well and want to get the open source program customized, you can ask the developers to modify the code for your requirements, by supporting them with a small sum of money. Most users do not have profound know-how of coding, and in such cases, paying the developers for modifying the program also makes a lot of sense.
Earning by creating plugins and add-ons
Different businesses, companies, and institutions have different requirements, as I already said, and in such cases, companies might even need additional plugins or add-ons to be used with an open source program to fulfil all the needs in a full-fledged way. It will be tenacious for other developers to develop add-ons and plugins from scratch in such situations, however, the companies might already have their own IT team. In such situations, those organizations can hire the developers of the open source program to develop add-ons and plugins to fulfil the organization’s requirements.
As they already know the tidbits of the complete project, they can write add-ons and plugins for the open-source programs effortlessly without starting from the scratch, and companies too can save time and cut the costs by paying the open-source programmers less than they need to pay their own IT team for the same task. This is yet another way the open source programmers earn good money and keep the development going.
By providing training and support to those interested
Open-source programs are quite difficult to use, generally speaking. There are hundreds of tools which the users can take advantage of, but most might not the correct way of using the same. Instead of playing with the tools available within the program, most companies prefer getting proper training from the developers of the open-source programmers to take the full advantage of it. The developers of the open source programmers thus earn money by offering training to those interested in it. There are numerous companies and educational institutions, which even organize regular training sessions and the trainees need to pay a sum of money as a fee to get the training, which eventually supports the developers for further developments. Not only training, but the installation of the open source programs can also be tedious at times, and the developers can even help with that in exchange for a certain sum of money.
So those were the different ways, most open source programmers earn money, which eventually motivates them for further developments. Most open source programs come with the GNU public license, and as per it, the developers cannot charge money from the users or sell it. Open source programs are cool, and the best part is, you can even be a part of the development team as a freelancer, and get a small percentage of which the complete team gets.
So that was it. Hope the information was helpful for you. Do you know any other way the open source programmers aka developers earn money? Feel free to comment the same down below.
Other Resources to read:
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- 70 Best Open source Software for Business