This post by Dan Bricklin entitled “Thinking about how to make a living as an entrepreneur software developer” should be essential reading for anyone (like me) who helps entrepreneurs develop business and legal models to protect — and make money from — their software.
Bricklin discusses the several options that are available to him (none of which are perfect), including:
- traditional proprietary software model (sell the software directly or via distributors)
- shareware/trialware models (pay if you like it, distribute via the Internet)
- open source with paid service model (source code is free, support costs)
- “somewhat” open source model (free for non-commercial use, paid for commercial use; like Movalbe Type, where the source code is modifiable but not redistributable)
Bricklin notes that a new type of software model is needed. He notes:
“While I think I fully understand and appreciate the benefits to society of GPL-style licenses, I’m looking to get at least some of those benefits in a way that can support an entrepreneur developer. ‘Proprietary source’ does not bother me, I just know that it’s not the only way, either. I’d love to find a hybrid that works in certain cases to the benefit of all.”
I’m eagerly awaiting his follow-up post.