I’ve made the decision to start charging for my add-ons listed in the software section of this site starting June 10th.
I’m not particularly stoked to be doing it but I can tell you that the whole ‘open’ model in the ExpressionEngine eco-system does not work, here’s why:
ExpressionEngine users are generally less hesitant to pay for commercial add-ons than to give donations for free software. I’d go as far as to say many are scared of free software. Alongside this is the fact that EllisLab ‘Community Partners’ are clambering over themselves to announce anything with a price tag - they pay little attention to open add-ons and their developers.
For these reasons, I’m going to say now - I’m over it.
I thought I’d be retired by now
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t throw add-ons onto GitHub because I expect fame or a flood of cash donations to come rolling in, I’ve done it for this long it to give something back for the help I got when I was learning ExpressionEngine. I was extremely grateful when any of the old-time EE users jumped in and helped me out with my noob question.
I also remember emailing these folks to say thanks after the site launched, and I’d be sure to send a a few bucks out to someone for a few beers in return for their add-on.
It’s not worth it, really, it isn’t
Could be just me and it’s very different for other ‘open’ add-on developers but, there doesn’t appear to be anything but burden for folks crafting add-ons that are not commercial. To throw a big generalisation about the type of support that goes with free add-ons, I can say (in my experience) it’s pretty much noobs to EE that presume a support commitment from the developer for free add-ons. Getting a support request like “It doesn’t work” happens to those offering commercial support too, but for us not receiving anything in return it quickly becomes tiresome.
With one exception
Taxonomy is the one exception to all this, having this module open source has meant I’ve received some great code contributions from the community. I have enough faith here and enough respect for those that have helped along the way to keep it open for them. If you’ve played a part in Taxonomy’s development, you’ll have open access to a private repository on GitHub.
To those who have donated and sent an email to me, I’d like to say thank you to you sir. To everyone else that uses free add-ons and takes them for granted, how about you send a thank you email those developers. Make sure you rate their add-on on Devot:EE and maybe once a month make a point of sending beer money to someone who’s helping out in the community.
As a side note to this topic, I’d love to know how many add-ons @markhuot has written that have never seen the light of day publicly. If the ‘open’ model worked with ExpressionEngine I’m sure those add-ons would be on GitHub - and a lot more of the community would be spending their evenings forking each-other…
EDIT: Ouch, a bitch slap from @brandonkelly. To be clear, this is a post about making free add-ons and getting to a point where they are not justifying their existance and the next step is to go to a commercial model. It’s not a fuck you for not paying me. It’s a “here’s why I’m doing this” and a note for those that take free add-ons for granted: how about you say thanks / donate / rate them and give those devs a little boost once in a while.