Why I changed my open source project’s license & started offering dual licensing
Open source projects are great, but for some developers, it just doesn’t cut it. Matanya Fischeimer, Founder of vue tables 2, shares why he made the move to a dual-licensing solution. By offering dual licensing, vue tables 2 is available as both free to use software, and as a subscription for companies using it in their commercial applications.
I’ve been working on an open source project called “Vue Tables” 2 for more than 3 years now. During that time, I’ve spent over 1,000 hours planning, coding, debugging and writing documentation. It started as a small side project, born when I needed some data grids for a project I was working on, but couldn’t find an easy and robust solution that didn’t require a lot of work to implement. I really love working on this project, and from the positive feedback I have been getting, it seems like many other developers found it useful, which is exactly why I started it.
But in the past few months, it became a bit too much to handle. What started as a couple of emails every month, became a torrent of feature requests, support queries, bug reports and integration help calls. This was on top of so much work that needed to be done on new features, updating the documentation, fixing bugs – not to mention working on adapting the code to the soon to be released Vue 3 version. I was facing a ton of work that was growing every day. Like many other open source developers, I also have a day job, and it became clear to me that I just can’t afford to spend so much time on this project at the expense of my paid work hours. Everyday expenses are burdening me just like the next guy, and I have rent to pay and mouths to feed.
When I realized I will be needing financial support to continue working on my project, I started looking into monetization options that will allow me to get the resources I needed. What first came to mind was asking for donations. Seeing many open source projects had a “donate” button on their project pages, I figured that if it worked for them – it should do the same for me. After several months of trying, I realized donations didn’t actually work. Bringing in a few dollars every here and there, donations didn’t prove effective as a reliable source of revenue I could count on. More people than ever were using my code, but close to zero decided to donate. I can’t really blame them though, as I can’t remember when I last donated to an open source project myself.