[wp-hackers] Re: Making money from GPL plugin development (Was: Advertising on plugin pages)

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at newclarity.net
Mon Mar 2 18:40:06 GMT 2009

"Alex Rabe" <alex.cologne at googlemail.com> wrote:
> my plugin NextGEN Gallery is by far not the best programmed 
> plugin, but during two years it raised up to one of the TOP 
> 10 plugins, itS written in a period where no gallery features 
> are in WP core, so it's maybe already useless cause the WP 
> core gallery system is getting better and better, but 
> currently I still receive a lot of feedback.

First, let me thank you for NextGEN, I used it on my current project and it was very helpful and you'll be getting a donation from me. I'd showcase it but my client has asked that I not talk about how it was developed for fear of getting hacked. I do have an important patch to contribute but will do that offline.

> During this two years I earned more than $3000 donations 
> (hard to calculate cause I'm accepting Euro as well). If 
> you donate, then you can choose the value you want and yes 
> it's very often something between $5 - $20.

That's great, and certainly better than not getting anything but US$1500/year isn't enough to live on. 

For 12 years I ran a reseller of developer tools for Visual Basic and we had hundreds of companies that sold developer products to Visual Basic & .NET developers. Companies, not just individuals. The obviously made enough money to live on, and both they and we learned that to be a great add-on developer is a much different business than to be a great consultant. So if the only viable model for WordPress plugin developers is as a lead-in to consulting then we'll by definition the community will get plugins that are less than they could be.

However, one of the reasons I left that business was because I came to believe strongly in open-source and fell open-source allows developers to decide how best to build software and not their managers who control the purse-strings.  Yes I'm a capitalist, but an idealistic one.

In summary, I think it would be great if we could develop a model that could allow plugin developers to work full-time on building great plugins. But that's all I'll say on the subject today. Since I posted yesterday I've come to realize this mailing list isn't the forum to make it happen so I'll incubate the ideas elsewhere for now.

-Mike Schinkel

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