Don Marti

Wed 30 May 2012 07:14:12 AM PDT

The most important $11,123 in the software business?

Where does the Free desktop come from? Well, let's see...

Company builds expensive server OS for large corporate customers such as banks. The Enterprise OS has to have some kind of desktop, just so admins who need/prefer a GUI can administer it, and people can use an alternate build of that.

Programmer scratches own itch, and the resulting software also works for others.

Company A takes a potshot at Company B's cash cow by releasing free software that B's customers can threaten to use when negotiating on price. Some people actually use it.

Bubbly startup has one of those "(1) Release free software, (2) ???, (3) Profit" business models, and leaves behind some useful software.

And we can't forget search ads.

It's really encouraging to see another source emerging...real crowdfunding. Joey Hess is now at over eleven grand with his git-annex assistant project on Kickstarter. (Joey's blog announcing it).

This might be an exception to the rule that "all free software business models are already in the Some Easily Rebutted Objections to GNU's Goals section of the GNU Manifesto." The closest I can see is, "Users with related needs can form users' groups, and pay dues. A group would contract with programming companies to write programs that the group's members would like to use." Close but no cigar.

Blender still holds the record for biggest crowdfunded software project, as far as I know, but that was for releasing an existing codebase from creditors, not a new project.

By the way, pay no attention to these guys.

Enough from me. Go here: git-annex assistant: Like DropBox, but with your own cloud