markdown guide

Look at how Ghost does it.

  • Non-profit organization
  • Developed in the open on github
  • MIT license, none of that AGPL darkness
  • Download and host your own instance for free
  • Funding
    • Seed funding via Kickstarter
    • SaaS product (customers pay for Ops)
    • Support (customers pay for specific levels of Support)

The SaaS offering varies by level of support more than features. But I listed Support separately because the Enterprise offering seems to mainly be about paying for support.


From what I know there are few major ways, either one is easy to achieve

  • donations (do not get your hopes high, except if you can convince the big players, companies)
  • dual licensing (one free, one payed for big companies that will take advantage in a commercial product, see Redis new license)
  • support (includes a range of things)
  • payed corporate version, similar with the free version but has more features

Yes, you are right - Donation doesn't help that much. When platforms like Open Collective and Pateron, maintainer doesn't earn that much unless big players are convinced.

In my repo, I don't have dual licence system and paid corporate versions.

What type of support can be provided? This seems nice idea


You alone probably cannot offer support. It usually means enterprise support, search for MariaDB or MongoDB services and see what they are doing.

The bottom line is that, in order for the big companies to use your product, you have to offer support to it, in any environment/timezone, and to all your product dependencies (example if it uses a database you have to to that as well, or have a collaboration with another company).

I say "big", because if someone is "small" probably will not have the money to pay for a support.

You can find many resources on this field, this is one of them I actually attended Open source slush by one of the MySQL and MariaDB founders.


From the back of my mind I would say: Patreon, foundations, Open Collective and Tidelift, but it's clearly not enough for everyone.

This is a good article on the topic: Open source sustainability

Henry Zhu in this post on dev.to talks about this topic too:


This is one of our primary goals at DevFlight. We help maintainers list their software on cloud marketplaces so they can generate revenue.


Thats great, but its a paid - What about maintainers who haven't earned that amount of money so they can invest in order to generate revenue. There should be other deal like free registration but price policy applies afterwards.


Thanks for your insight. It's funny you mention that Shan because we've actually been considering adding the pricing tier you're describing after getting similar feedback from our users.