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How to sustain yourself with an open-source project?

Hey! I am currently working on Devolio, a welcoming community for developers to share and dicuss and I am struggling to decide whether or not open-sourcing it is a good idea.

On one hand, I really want to open-source the software and make it an amazing community with the help of other passionate devs. But, I am worried about how I can sustain myself while not stealing from the other contributors if I make it public. If many other people have helped the project become useful and interesting, I don't want to profit from their labor but I also want to be able to pay for hosting and the other costs of sustaining a server.

I really believe making it open-source would be an amazing opportunity for me to meet other interesting people and code something great but I am torn on what to do.

How have your experiences with the open-source model been and what were the positive and negative aspects?

Thank you so much!

Top comments (2)

brycebba profile image

I would start here:

Do you feel like you need external help to get the project live? If so, how much? That could help you decide if you should just ask some people for contributions or if you truly need to open source it to get the help you need.

Do you feel you need to disclose your source code to get people to buy into something you are selling like your Privacy model, or something to that extent?

Open Source models are great and as developers we take advantage these types of projects all the time however there is nothing wrong with making money off your software and intellectual property if that is your goal. So realistically I would ask yourself, if you think this could be a full fledged business, or if this would at best be some extra pocket change, or if you just want to cover operating costs and are doing it for the community and your resume.

It really boils down to why you feel you would need to open source your project. Something to consider though is that when you open source something that gets a fair amount of activity is that your role as a developer dwindles and is replaced by your new role as PR reviewer, quality and integration specialist, gate keeper, etc. Also you can't expect others to follow the same code standards/style as you enforce upon yourself so if you are a control freak, that will be a problem.

Obviously there is a lot more to consider but those are just a couple of things I would ask myself

uzayg profile image
Uzay-G • Edited

Thanks for your advice! I am gonna think about the points you bring up. I don't need help to get the project out there but I really want this community to reflect what its users want and I am kind of in love with the idea that a developer on the platform can be using it and think, "Wow, what if the platform allowed me to do x feature here or if I could make y change to this interface" and then he can just go ahead and implement it or create a discussion around the idea or issue.