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C1REX
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:47 pm    Post subject: How Linux devs can potentially make money from Linux? Reply with quote

The title is too short to deliver my thought :)

Somebody on another topic said something super interesting. Something that most devs tried to make money from working on a Linux distro but very few succeeded. Those few who did it are being envied and often bad mouthed by the rest.


This question can be general but it's easier for me to ask:

How Daniel Robbins could/can make a living from working on Gentoo/Fun-Too?


My first thought is patreon and youtube channel.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX,

drobbins owned two companies Gentoo Technologies Inc. and Gentoo Games ... The New Mexico public records are not available to me from Scotland any more.
The idea was to sell things.

Gentoo Technologies Inc. I am sure of. Its assets went to the Gentoo Foundation.
The Games one I know existed but I can't get to its public record any more.

There are a few Gentoo devs who are hired by their employers and set to work on Gentoo.
These devs work at the direction of their employers, as its their day job.
Some of these devs are permitted to commit their work to the ::gentoo repo. I'm sure that there are others who are not permitted to contribute ebuilds produced on their employers time too.

Committing to ::gentoo is only one example.
Devs in general being paid for being Open Source developers making contributions to upstream projects also benefit Gentoo.
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Juippisi
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:26 pm    Post subject: Re: How Linux devs can potentially make money from Linux? Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:

How Daniel Robbins could/can make a living from working on Gentoo/Fun-Too?


https://www.funtoo.org/Funtoo_Containers
https://www.funtoo.org/Funtoo_Compute_Initiative
https://breezyops.com/
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:04 pm    Post subject: Re: How Linux devs can potentially make money from Linux? Reply with quote

Juippisi wrote:
C1REX wrote:

How Daniel Robbins could/can make a living from working on Gentoo/Fun-Too?


https://www.funtoo.org/Funtoo_Containers
https://www.funtoo.org/Funtoo_Compute_Initiative
https://breezyops.com/



Why not simple donations?

How can a noob desktop fanboy like me support gentoo (or funtoo?)
I would pay money to get VIP status on this forum as a gentoo supporter or something.
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm    Post subject: Re: How Linux devs can potentially make money from Linux? Reply with quote

You can donate to Gentoo here: https://gentoo.org/donate/. There's no VIP program or the like, though.

- John
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX,

You can donate via Paypal. The accounts for the Gentoo Foundation Inc. are a matter of public record.
That's where your money goes, if you use the donate link on the Gentoo website.
The Gentoo Foundation Inc. swag site is on cafepress.

You may also donate to the Gentoo e.V. which is a German organisation.
The swag on their website is better quality than cafepress. I have some of each.
As their website is all in German I can't read it.
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:48 pm    Post subject: Re: How Linux devs can potentially make money from Linux? Reply with quote

John R. Graham wrote:
You can donate to Gentoo here: https://gentoo.org/donate/. There's no VIP program or the like, though.

- John


Hmmm :(

I hoped for some bragging and showing off.
I bought some gentoo merch but from another website.



EDIT: I just did a single donation. Might set up a monthly subscription but would love to have some bragging rights to Inspire more users to donate.
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could always add
    I donated to Gentoo! You should, too!
to your forum sig. ;)

- John
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John R. Graham wrote:
You could always add
    I donated to Gentoo! You should, too!
to your forum sig. ;)

- John


I was thinking exactly about that :)
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sig changed but I believe donators should be bribed to donate and even better - subscribe.
Not sure what but it often works. I think business model of gentoo is one of the weakest part.
I can't even buy official merch what is super easy to setup - many companies do such thing working on commission.

It can be a youtube channel with weekly reports with livechat donation on. Whatever that gives people anything back as well.


Is there anybody in gentoo team responsible for finances, business and promotion?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
... I can't even buy official merch what is super easy to setup - many companies do such thing working on commission.
Not strictly true. See Stores offering Gentoo products.

- John
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John R. Graham wrote:
C1REX wrote:
... I can't even buy official merch what is super easy to setup - many companies do such thing working on commission.
Not strictly true. See Stores offering Gentoo products.

- John



I forgot about this but the choice is super limited in EU :(
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CafePress ships internationally.

- John
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They have a UK site too. My stuff was posted in the UK.
Use the Gentoo e.V. site if they have the stuff you want. Its better quality.
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John R. Graham wrote:
CafePress ships internationally.

- John


Thanks for pointing this one. This shop is like 100x better than the ones listed as europeans.
I'm most interested in stuff like huge mugs, stickers, etc.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:31 am    Post subject: Re: How Linux devs can potentially make money from Linux? Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
C1REX wrote:
How Daniel Robbins could/can make a living from working on Gentoo/Fun-Too?
Why not simple donations?
The problem with positing donations for developers is one of scale. When your metric for success is that a developer "can make a living" from working on the project, then you need the donations to sum up to a livable wage for that developer, and to maintain that level with some consistency. Livable varies by country, preferred lifestyle, and other factors, but as a baseline, we could say that it needs to be above what the developer could earn working a minimum wage job. For most developers, if they're qualified to do true development (including writing/debugging programs), they're well on their way to being able to get a corporate or government job as a "software developer," which pushes the baseline up toward the salary offered for those positions. (We can assume some slack if we assume the developer in question likes open-source development enough to make up for reduced pay, but there's a limit to how much lower people will go just to do something they enjoy.) When last I looked, recent college graduates taking software developer jobs were offered salaries substantially above minimum wage, and senior developers can beat that by a significant percentage.

For a developer in the United States, it's probably not unreasonable to say that "making a living" would mean an income of at least $45,000/year. (Consider also that because this hypothetical developer is paid entirely out of donations, he or she must also pay out-of-pocket for things that a corporate employee would receive as company-paid benefits, so a private sector employee with a stated gross salary of $45k is already better off than our hypothetical donation-driven developer.) If this developer lives in an expensive part of the country (high taxes, high cost of living, etc.), $45k isn't enough. I vaguely recall that $60k/year was considered borderline poverty in New York City. A corporation employing someone in New York City would (grudgingly) offer a salary sufficient to cover the greater cost of living there, relative to what they might offer to someone who will live and work in a cheap state. We can't necessarily assume our hypothetical developer would be both willing and able to move to a cheap locale, so "livable wage" may need to be stepped up, even though we don't need the developer to live in the expensive state. It gets even more expensive if we assume at least some of these developers are married, have kids, and need to earn enough to support the entire family.

Now look at how much disposable income you are willing to donate to the project. Think about how many people like you need to donate, on a recurring basis, to get this one hypothetical developer to a livable wage. Now scale that up to cover enough developers that the project can rely on enough hours/week to make good forward progress. How many developers do we end up paying? 10? 30? 50? How many users do we need to be able to pay that many developers enough that they will spend their time working on the project instead of taking a paid job with a traditional employer?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hu

Good points and unfortunately a confirmation that it's almost impossible to make a living developing a non commercial distro.

However you might get expierience, skills and better CV that might lead to a better job.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You just cannot live from a distro that is using devs for free.
What if we pay Robbins, then why Hu or Neddy aren't getting paid? So you must pay everyone or you'll frustrate ones that was doing it for the distro ; because of cause paid devs will have a greater impact on the distro, lowering even more contribution from non paid devs (you are removing part of the motivation on why they are doing it for free)
Oh you'll pay all gentoo devs? but some non gentoo devs are giving a so valuable contribution it woudn't be fair so (roy marples to cite one)

If you want live from a distro, you need to create a parasite distro (not an insult, a parasite is just an organism that live on the depend on another organism), that's ubuntu for debian, sabayon for gentoo or redhat for fedora
this way free devs works for the host, and paid devs (using work of free devs) need to be less and work for your distro.

but like any "for profit" company, you'll have to do what is need to make money ; are you sure Robbins is ready for that? He told in the video you provide (thanks again) he was getting paid by microsoft for nothing, more hire for some "hey, we're open source friendly" than a real wish to promote open source from microsoft, and he resign because of that, while he could had just keep getting the money.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Write linux administration books for example:
https://www.amazon.com/SELinux-System-Administration-Sven-Vermeulen/dp/1787126951

That was in ancient times when gentoo was innovative however.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

erm67 wrote:
Write linux administration books for example:
https://www.amazon.com/SELinux-System-Administration-Sven-Vermeulen/dp/1787126951

That was in ancient times when gentoo was innovative however.


Considering number of reviews I'm not sure if the writer made any money on that book. :)
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:47 am    Post subject: Re: How Linux devs can potentially make money from Linux? Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
The title is too short to deliver my thought :)
...
How Daniel Robbins could/can make a living from working on Gentoo/Fun-Too?
...

The "book" answer for making money from open source software is by selling yourself - i.e. services and/or skills. So, for example, if you write a firewall, sell firewall installation and configuration services; if you write a language or compiler, sell programming courses. IBM's Software Services division made an awful lot of money from open source doing exactly this. Red Hat do the same; you can use Fedora for free, but businesses are happy to pay for support. Indeed, businesses often reject free software precisely because there's no paid support - they don't like free support because there's no contractual way to force someone to work on or give priority to a bug.

Of course, you can also develop proprietary software using open source materials and just bluff your way when someone complains about copyright infringements. Sadly lots of companies have that as a business model.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other two common ways (which partially overlap with Goverp's answer) are:
  1. Work for a company that embeds Linux in their products, or
  2. Work for a company that uses Linux as part of its critical core infrastructure.
I do (a) and have several friends that do either (a) or (b). Many Gentoo Developers fall into these categories as well. Furthermore, most companies in either category allow such employees to contribute back to open source to some degree.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:48 am    Post subject: Re: How Linux devs can potentially make money from Linux? Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
Juippisi wrote:
C1REX wrote:

How Daniel Robbins could/can make a living from working on Gentoo/Fun-Too?


https://www.funtoo.org/Funtoo_Containers
https://www.funtoo.org/Funtoo_Compute_Initiative
https://breezyops.com/



Why not simple donations?


https://www.funtoo.org/Support_Funtoo

Why do I need to hand out these links for you? It's 2020, basic information searching should be as easy as breathing.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Juippisi

It's not about getting links to donations site.
I'm asking how realistic is idea of making a living directly from working on a free distro. How many achieved that?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:

I'm asking how realistic is idea of making a living directly from working on a free distro. How many achieved that?


All Canonical employees that work on Ubuntu, all RedHat employees that work on Fedora or Centos, all SUSE employees .....

If the distro is free it is impossible to make money directly from it of course.
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