Business Models for Independent OSS Developers

Status: Active
Bottom liner: Agost Biro
How to get involved: Go to the Sustain OSS forum, and weigh in there.


To learn and share how independent developers navigate open source and business.


The goal of the Business Models for Independent OSS Devs group would be to:

  • Collect data on available business models for independent OSS devs (including donations
  • Publish a document that helps OSS devs pick a model by describing each model objectively and listing providers for each model with
  • the number of projects using the provider,
  • the amount of revenue the provider generates for OSS devs,
  • the date the provider launched and
  • an analysis about the characteristics of successful projects using the provider.

The challenge is keeping all of this objective, as some participants (myself included) are biased by working on a project in this space. I think this can be overcome by keeping the document in a Github repo where each edit is public and saved for posterity, and where editors’ affiliations are listed. An other challenge is getting reliable revenue numbers from providers. We will discuss how to go about this in the working group.

Guiding questions

  • How are independent developers different from larger projects?
  • How much does open source help provide income for solo devs?
  • What does a sustainable business look like?
  • What income streams are there?

Reports and documents

None yet.


Check out the Sustain OSS forums.

How to get involved

Please join the discussion on the Sustain OSS forums.