First you must be a believer
Here is the assumption: It is right and good to make a living while developing an open source project. If you disagree with this statement then you may as well stop reading here.
Still reading? Good! As an Open Source software developer you are doing the world a lot of good, and yes, you do deserve to have some reward for your work. Yet, no one will break down your door to give it to you. You deserve financial rewards, but you alone are the one who is going to make it happen -- if you don't do it for yourself, forget about it. Believing that you deserve it will not make things happen.Some background...
Open Source software is wonderful. And when you make something that is useful, and you give it away for free, everybody loves you. As an OS programmer you know this is true! Yes, it should feel good, and it does.
Yet, how do we translate that good will into food on our plate? That is a question I kept asking myself when working on DSL. We had an enormously successful project (from our vantage point at least) which has a lot of notoriety. It has been in a dozen magazines and featured on a TV show, but it ran at a net loss.This is the bane of all OS developers:
How do we make a living while doing what we love?
This is an easy question to a not so easy answer. There is really very little on the net that will give you give any guidance. Truth is, most OS developers do not have a clue as to how to do this. I am writing this guide to help others to do what we have done at DSL -- earn income while keeping our project thriving and freely available.