Sat 3 Jun 2017

Sandstorm abandons "open core" and becomes a community supported project

Danyl Strype Public Seen by 451

According to a Sandstorm project blog post (Feb ,2017), Sandstorm have abandoned their "open core" business model, taken down their paywall, and liberated all their code. I think this is a great thing for the project, and for the world.

Sandstorm realised that they couldn't build a commons-based business by selling stuff to "enterprise" (corporations). Even Enspiral are sometimes willing to use proprietary freeware (GITHub, Slack, Google Docs, Trello) rather than self-hosting libre replacements, despite the clash of values involved. Why would profit-centred companies spend money on a (partially) free code service when they can outsourcing their computing to The Stacks, and get a proprietary service gratis? The "open core" business model is the worst of both worlds, and it's not the future of funding free code development.

Sandstorm would be better off looking at paying for dev costs by collecting regular, small contributions for sysadmins running their software, and the end users. There are now a number of libre platforms for managing this, including Gratipay, LiberaPay, OpenCollective, and Salt (a BountrySource service).


Bob Haugen Sat 3 Jun 2017

Thanks for opening this thread.

How is Sandstorm doing since the founders abandoned their business model?

And who is making a living from these small contributions?

The background question is, what are the viable methods for financially sustaining open source projects and their workers?


Danyl Strype Sat 3 Jun 2017

"what are the viable methods for financially sustaining open source projects and their workers?"

Definitely an important question about the future, with no rock solid answer. Things that haven't worked yet might start working . Things that are working now might stop. Things can work for some people or groups but not others. Who a tactic does and doesn't work for can change over time too. Like making a living in general for the precariat, it's a crapshoot.

But yes, case studies give us a more informed basis for predicting what might work in the future. Byran Lunduke discusses a few successes and failures in open source projects specifically. But I think this question ties into a larger question of how we, as a networked society, can make it viable for people to make a living doing more ethical work on a number of fronts (renewable energy; regenerative food, fibre, and fuel production; 3D printable, free hardware design; restoring wild habitats to biodiversity, planting trees etc).


Guy James Sun 4 Jun 2017

This is one option: "in just 24 seconds BAT raised a capital of $36 million" - https://medium.com/@ether_world/basic-attention-token-bat-ico-an-electrifying-crowd-sale-eda799774671


Probably not very egalitarian, but it's a pretty useful way to get funded...


Draft Sat 17 Jun 2017

Oh no :( When did advertising get into open source market ? :'(