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"!