Towards Open Source Sustainability

lobste.rs - Thu Oct 14 04:57

Towards Open Source Sustainability

Sustainable open source is nigh on impossible. It seems that every funding model has treacherous impasses and cliffs. You're constantly walking the razor's edge between sustainability and sanity.

  • Donations? Your software must be in use by hundreds of thousands of people. Only broad appeal software has any realistic chance of sustainability.

  • Paid support? It could be years before you see your first customer.

  • Open core? Are you ready to alienate your community? How do you decide what belongs in your core? How do you decide what belongs in your product?

There are of course many other models, and we've evaluated them ad nauseum. Throughout their evaluation we discovered our axioms:

  • Nyxt will always be fully open source.
  • Nyxt will not be hindered by its funding model (e.g. no freemium limitations).
  • Nyxt will be available and accessible to all.
  • Nyxt will serve and empower its users.

This makes our model selection even more stringent. How can we pay our rent while continuing to work on Nyxt full-time?

After over two years of study, we've settled on our first test model:

Sell applications built on top of Nyxt. (examples: a feed reader, a mail application, etc)

Your first thought might be "wait a second, that sounds just like open core!". And I would say, "sure, but, no". There are some fundamental differences.

Open core typically involves a library that is hindered without an additional (closed source) paid product. Nyxt, is fully useful, even without any of our applications. Our applications are NOT extensions to the "core", they are in fact standalone applications built utilizing Nyxt's capabilities as an application framework. Therefore, there is no "open core conflict". We don't have to divide Nyxt between paid and free features.

Furthermore, we have decided that even Nyxt's paid applications should be accessible- regardless of one's financial means. We believe that everyone should be able to profit from the wealth of knowledge available on the Internet. Therefore, if you can't afford to buy any of our applications, simply fill out a form indicating what you need our application for, and we'll send you a free copy.

So, what are we making? Based on our community feedback, we decided our first application would be a feed reader. Thus, Demeter was born! Demeter is the goddess of harvest and agriculture. She gloriously gathers the fruits of the Internet and presents them to you in an easily digestible form. We hope you like her, and we hope you'll join us on our mission towards sustainable open source development.

Thank you for your support!

-John

Check out Demeter!