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The rich Robin Hood

for such people is the wider acceptance of quality software.

For independent programmers it provides an excellent medium to release good

ideas even if their programs are of average quality. The vast technical

expertise of the connected world will always support good ideas. Good

programmers can contribute to the development of large and complex technical

systems and programs, thereby increasing their experience, knowledge and

collaboration abilities which are important in any professional job.

There is a also better interaction between the customer and developer, a better

knowledge of the market and of course popular support. An open source project

can be a good project for beginners who want to solve interesting problems of

the computing world.

However, as any good programmer would tell you, the best, most useful and

popular programs are the ones you would write to solve the problems of everyday

computing life. Fetchmail is the best example of such a program which has

become highly popular in the Unix community.

Sounds good, but can I make any money?

Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot of potential to make money in the

open source economy. It is important to note that poorly designed and low

quality software will never generate profits (unless you force people to buy


What are the possible methods of income?

* Selling the software+source+manual in a boxed package as a commercial


* Add on packages that make use of advanced technology (requiring resources

of the programmer). Sendmail is a very good example of a software that

utilizes this method.

* Paid customer support for software users.

* Cost added software/API manual.

* Paid customer requested custom software modification.

* Revenue from advertisements inside software. (many people get irritated!)

* Sponsorships from subject related companies. For eg. if you were to

develop a distributed molecular modeller, you could find sponsorship

money from NASA or other science foundations.

What I have listed are only few of the many possible ways of generation income

from open source software. As you may have now realized, open source is not

only about being an ordinary "Robin Hood". It is certainly possible to become

a "Rich Robin Hood"!