[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

John Van Ostrand john at netdirect.ca
Sun Jul 25 05:57:11 EDT 2010

----- Original Message -----
> But, to Paul's point: How do developers put food on the table?
> Without having to execute a continuous stream of work?

How do most people? We work and are paid for that effort. When we stop working we don't get paid. We save for problem times.

There are those that work on speculation. They work in hopes that someone will pay for it later. Writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and the traditional programmer are all examples. A few profit well, but most barely eke by or lose money on those efforts. They know the risks going in.
> They create something 'wonderful', but, in essence, must (practically
> speaking) make it free. How do they gain a 'royalty' (not an annual
> license fee, but a bite of pie) every time their work is 'acquired'
> (downloaded?)
> I get your business model, your code (and other activities) enhances
> your reputation and makes you the go to guy for a continuous stream of
> work.

For a programmer it's often easier to use free software as a method of advertising than actually advertise. It's cheaper and it they can leverage their skills.

> But how do FOSS developers put food on the table for effort expended
> without having to continuously execute new streams of work?

The concept of write it once, sell it many times and make a fortune seems to be harder to do. The large software vendors are realising the crunch and looking at subscription models and other things to help pay for on-going development. 

Sure you could write some software that makes you the next Google or Facebook, but how many sites with unique ideas have failed.

It's a small window for success. You have to create something at the right time that is complex enough to thwart competition and gain market share fast before the others can catch up. Then it has to stay complex or important enough that users need tier 1 support or enhancements.

In reality many FLOSS developers work for other companies that pay them to create the software. Those that don't may develop the software in-line with their real business or develop for their own use.

> e.g. Suppose you get sick (and have no income replacement insurance) -
> your revenue plummets and you have to live on what you have managed to
> save. Or, what about those who don't make enough or have insurance?

One could mimic an employer and purchase insurance and pay EI and CPP. That puts an entrepreneur on a similar footing as an employee. (Although it's not always applicable.)

John Van Ostrand 
CTO, co-CEO 
Net Direct Inc. 
564 Weber St. N. Unit 12, Waterloo, ON N2L 5C6 
Ph: 866-883-1172 x5102 
Fx: 519-883-8533 

Linux Solutions / IBM Hardware 

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