That time I had to explain to the U.S. patent office that libre software != gratis

February 21st, 2024

Two years ago I applied for a U.S. trademark for LibreTranslate. To my surprise and probably to my own fault for not having declared the English translation of the word “libre” from French (more on that later), the application was initially rejected on the ground that the mark was deemed by the attourney examiner to be “merely descriptive”. A merely descriptive mark is a mark that only describes a product, without adding any significant insight, interpretation, or deeper meaning. For […]

I’m offering free consulting for sustaining open source projects

October 26th, 2023

Starting today I will offer to help any open source project that is looking to raise funds and find a sustainable business model. Totally free (as in free beer). I’ve been working full-time on open source independently for 5+ years, totally self-funded (no corporate sponsors or employers). I think I can help. If not, I have a money-back guarantee. Elegibility: To apply visit What’s the catch? There’s no catch. I want to see open source developers thrive. Notice how […]

You can’t trust proprietary software

September 14th, 2023

Unity announced pricing changes and a new runtime fee, which is already causing tremendous backlash. This is a reminder that you cannot trust proprietary software and that your business is tied to the whims of the company behind it. Why take such risk? Game developers should consider Godot for their next project.

FOSS Funding – Chapter 3 – Trickle Down Sustainability

August 15th, 2023

While trickle down economics doesn’t work, “trickle down sustainability” as it’s applied to free and open-source software is a concept that might just work. It’s not a silver bullet and will not solve the problem of FOSS funding once and for all. But as with most problems, we’re not trying to get from A to Z, but from A to B. A step forward in the right direction. What’s the idea? Why frontend software? Because this is what users see, […]

FOSS Funding – Chapter 2 – Binaries

February 1st, 2023

We encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. In Chapter 1 we talked about one of the core challenges around FOSS monetization: open source licenses allow anyone to freely distribute copies of it. If a person starts charging money for it, without any additional benefit (e.g. enterprise support), somebody else will come along and redistribute it for free. This is why selling enterprise support has been a successful model for many […]

FOSS Funding – Chapter 1 – Open source has a funding problem

December 14th, 2022

This is the first post of a series about funding free and open source software. The fact that lots of open source software is largely underfunded is well documented. Many successful open source projects are successful because they stand on the shoulders of giants who absorb the cost of running it. A few reach world-wide success through adoption and find ways to sustain themselves via corporate/individual sponsorships. Ok great; but what about you? Say you have a project. It’s open-source. […]

Right To Repair

October 6th, 2020

I sincerely look forward to see more states and countries bringing forward right to repair laws. If you bought something, you should own it. I didn’t realize how bad this has gotten, until I tried to replace the batteries on both my Kindle and Google Pixel. It’s clear these people DO NOT want you to open these things up. My god. Took me a good hour to change the Kindle battery. Took me FOUR hours to pry open the Google […]

How To Make Money With Open Source? Hint: Sell Something

April 19th, 2019

Free and open source software is creating a lot of value. Maintainers however are often capturing no value from their work, rarely out of choice and often times because those individuals and companies that could contribute and fund the development of a project choose not to. And you can’t fault them. People need to ditch donations/crowdsourcing/patronization models and start selling something instead. Read the slides from my recent presentation at FOSS4G-NA: Please Sell Something – FOSS Funding for the Next […]

The Free Rider Problem

November 30th, 2018

The Free Rider Problem applies to free and open source software really well. If you’re a maintainer, read it up.

On the Importance of UX in Decentralized Applications

July 29th, 2018

Have you heard of Mastodon? It’s a decentralized and open source twitter-like platform using open standards such as ActivityPub to function. Among many other features, it has no ads and a chronological order feed. In short, it’s awesome. I’ve tried to explain to my wife the concept of Mastodon. “It’s like Twitter, but you can install it on your own machine. And you are not isolated, if somebody installs their own Twitter, my Twitter can communicate with their Twitter”. Her reaction was like: […]