Can you crowd fund open source software?

Chat

The open source movement is quite something – people spending their own precious spare time to make the world a better place. Software that is everywhere and quite literally runs the web has it’s source code freely available to be examined, modified and learned from (even duplicated or repackaged!).

In an environment where it’s people’s spare time alone, building a team to cover usability, design and testing becomes a lot harder. It’s typical that a project in the OSS ecosystem starts as an engineer scratching an itch – building what’s interesting to them – so how does that transition to a published application of top quality and polish?

With funding – that seems how. But with typical models of funding that hand controlling rights to the donor then the software can take a different turn. What if the developers and end users were able to agree on a feature set / direction and chip in to make it happen?

Enter crowd funding. A growing phenomenon where young groups or companies can pitch their product or idea to raise money from their future customers, who in return get perks such as early access or stylish accessories. But compare tangible product creation to software where the goal is to release both the finished product as well as the source code it is built with. Will people really part with money for a product that they will be able to obtain for free at some future date?

Let me know what you think in the comments. If there is enough interest then I have an experiment in mind 😉

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3 thoughts on “Can you crowd fund open source software?

  1. Hi Andrew
    I have been considering this very thing as I believe the value of tech is in the usage and diversity it allows for.

    I would be interested in chatting with you about a open source IMP project.

    Hope to speak soon,
    Bonnie

  2. Hi Andrew,
    I think yes it can be great if the final product benefits a large sector eg education, healthcare and society in general.
    I would be interested in chatting with you as I have considered this strategy myself for the IMP system.
    Bonnie

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