[PD] The economics of Open source

Pierre Massat pimassat at gmail.com
Tue Mar 8 09:21:58 CET 2011

Dear List,

I was trying to get Ardour to work last night and i came accross the forum
on their website. I must say i was quite shocked to see how many posts were
about money. I was equally surprized to see that the latest full version of
Ardour isn't free (although you can name your price).
Now don't get me wrong : I think i can imagine the amount of work that was
necessary to write a software like Ardour from scratch, and i totally
understand that the team who wrote it may decide that they should be payed
for it.
This leads me to ask two questions :
1) What are the economics of open source software, and how sustainable is
the model? How does it work for Pd?
2) I get the feeling that open source developpers used to think that the
idea of free (free beer...) software was cool, but 10 to 15 years down the
line (that is, now) they're beginning to realize that they can't keep on
doing this forever. Am I wrong here?

I have been considering making a donation since i've been using Pd
extensively for a few years now. But could someone tell me exactly how it
works? Who gets the money? How is it split between the different
developpers? For instance, i'm assuming that Miller Puckette should get a
fair share of the donations since we're all using Pd vanilla at least, but i
use HID a lot in my patches, so Hans should get his share too. And i never
use GEM or Gridflow (cause i have no need for it at the moment), so i don't
see why part of my donation should go to Mathieu or GEM's author(s). Yet i m
sure that thousands of people use GEM, and these developpers should be
supported as well. In short, how does it work, and how do we make this

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