Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby Jastiv » 05 Jul 2019, 04:25

So, this month, the Fsf sent out in the newsletter, a link to the wiki, how to make money writing libre software.
https://libreplanet.org/wiki/Making_money_as_a_libre_software_programmer

So, having read that, if you were to make a full time job out of writing video games, what model(s) do you think would work best and why?
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 05 Jul 2019, 04:54

Private software is libre.

Say what now?

Write or customize libre software on a contract basis

For peanuts, yes; I have seen this exchange in action.

Write or customize libre software for an online service
Service sales fund development. Excludes Service as a Software Substitute
Case studies
WordPress
Ghost
Canvas LMS
Sharetribe

I'm sort of lost on this point. Aren't Wordpress templates proprietary and purchased on an individual basis? And if it's not proprietary software for sale, what advantage does slapping the "libre" title on contract work have?

Write or customize libre software for a hardware product
Product sales fund development.

Good luck getting the hardware manufacturer to pay you for it.

Sponsorship
Organizations provide funds and benefit from the software and marketing.

I'm more concerned with how I benefit than how they benefit. They "provide funds"? I'm assuming said funds come from underwriters, as in nonprofit, as in communism. Not for me.

Trademark Licensing
Your trademark is licensed to service providers in exchange for a fee.

Even my unethical feathers get a little ruffled by this. I'd rather not play the trademark game. It's not good for society and it requires dealing with the government.

Crowd-funding

Maybe when I hit rock bottom.

Subscriptions
End-users make payments to receive updates and new releases.

Unless you give away older versions, it's not libre or even gratis. If you're getting subscribers anyways, giving something away to non-subscribers is barely relevant.

Pay what you want distribution
End-users pay for a ready-to-run supported program from an official source.

Right. "Free" for a price. Libre. Got it.

Sell a limited run of physical copies
Works well for games. Gives collector value to the product.

Not a good idea.

Funding from charities
Funding from other non-profit organizations
Grants

No, no, and no.

I think I'll stick with the proprietary model for the reasons given above.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby smcameron » 05 Jul 2019, 13:45

Write or customize libre software for a hardware product Product sales fund development.



Good luck getting the hardware manufacturer to pay you for it.


The way to do this is to get a job at a company writing linux drivers for their hardware. I worked for HP doing this for more than a decade, and while there I occasionally went to conferences (e.g. the linux storage, filesystem, and memory management summit) where there were maybe a hundred other people who worked at similar jobs at other companies, usually big companies... intel, samsung, google, facebook, sandisk, redhat, SuSE, Canonical, etc. but plenty of smaller start ups too. And for every person at the conference, each one probably had ten other colleagues with similar jobs who were not at the conference. A hardware company that supports linux needs drivers, and (excepting the likes of Nvidia) eventually learns that the easiest way to do this is to open source their drivers and get them into the main stream kernel, which means they are open source. If their hardware is complex enough, and continually evolving, and has a big enough market share, they will hire full time employees to write and maintain those drivers. There are not very many such jobs, but they do exist. It is true that if you just go off and figure out how some random hardware works and write an open source linux driver on your own, of course you won't be very likely to be paid for your efforts. It is also true that you're not super likely to get hired to work on drivers if you've never done it before, which is kind of a catch-22 (though I have seen people hired to do it right out of school). The more likely path is to get hired to work on something else, then once you have the job and prove yourself on whatever else, eventually end up on some driver team one way or another. Some of those companies (e.g. facebook, google, intel) will have other open source kernel focused jobs besides just hardware drivers too (e.g. filesystems, memory management) although those are fewer, and harder to get than driver work.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 05 Jul 2019, 18:12

That's great, and I love hearing about you guys from HP, IBM, etc. But honestly, drivers and memory management and the like don't interest me. I never studied computer science and my interest is more in games if I'm to work on software at all. Sure, I could probably hack together some driver code, but why bother? I'm glad you got to do what you liked to do, but I am far removed from that world.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby drummyfish » 05 Jul 2019, 21:08

Here is how I make money writing free software:

Find a job at a reception of a rooming house. Your job is to just sit there. Take your laptop with you and use the time to write free software.

Yes, it is minimum wage, but you're not doing it for the money, and it's infinitely better than writing proprietary software. I couldn't live with myself writing proprietary software.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby smcameron » 06 Jul 2019, 01:11

fluffrabbit {l Wrote}:That's great, and I love hearing about you guys from HP, IBM, etc. But honestly, drivers and memory management and the like don't interest me. I never studied computer science and my interest is more in games if I'm to work on software at all. Sure, I could probably hack together some driver code, but why bother? I'm glad you got to do what you liked to do, but I am far removed from that world.


I was just responding to your response to "Write or customize libre software for a hardware product. Product sales fund development.", which previously, you did not respond: "I'm not interested in that", but rather "Good luck getting the hardware manufacturer to pay you for it." It turns out there are actually people that do get paid for that.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 06 Jul 2019, 01:28

smcameron {l Wrote}:
fluffrabbit {l Wrote}:That's great, and I love hearing about you guys from HP, IBM, etc. But honestly, drivers and memory management and the like don't interest me. I never studied computer science and my interest is more in games if I'm to work on software at all. Sure, I could probably hack together some driver code, but why bother? I'm glad you got to do what you liked to do, but I am far removed from that world.


I was just responding to your response to "Write or customize libre software for a hardware product. Product sales fund development.", which previously, you did not respond: "I'm not interested in that", but rather "Good luck getting the hardware manufacturer to pay you for it." It turns out there are actually people that do get paid for that.

Gotcha. I think the misunderstanding comes from the difference between drivers for a piece of mass market hardware and drivers for open hardware projects such as the nD, the thing that never was, from the creator of Bob's Game. I could totally see myself programming novelty devices like that, but they change fast and there's no big company to pay anybody. Would still be cool though, if I could get into that niche, like Jobs and Woz with the original Apple.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby Lyberta » 06 Jul 2019, 06:02

There are a couple nice ways:

Put spyware in your game and seel users' personal data to Facebook and the likes.

Make sure your game is online only and put gambling - loot boxes - in it.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 06 Jul 2019, 06:10

F2P is a model I haven't figured out, for the same reasons I have trouble with the FLOSS model. It makes more sense to a caveman like me to sell a thing in exchange for currency. I know "the people are the product" and "freedom isn't free" etc., but all philosophy aside, all these complications are layers of abstraction between the customer and the business, a model copied from the old brick-and-mortar way. This new-fangled Internet commerce is just a little hard for me to understand as just one man.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby drummyfish » 06 Jul 2019, 17:13

fluffrabbit {l Wrote}:It makes more sense to a caveman like me to sell a thing in exchange for currency.


That is not what you're doing with proprietary software though, you're not exchanging a simple thing for money. You're selling a license, which is a complicated thing that gives certain rights to use and handle the software within very strict restrictions for certain time. This is far beyond caveman thinking if that is what you're looking for. If you want to come close to exchanging rocks for wooden sticks in the world of software, you should just be trying to sell physical copies of free software, but in general the caveman model and the whole capitalism has been flawed and outdated for a few thousand years.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 06 Jul 2019, 19:40

Yes, you can sell GPL'd software on disk, whether it's yours or somebody else's. However, if it includes other people's GPL'd code, you must make your source available as well, possibly for free on a website somewhere. If you aren't restricted to copyleft, you can dual-license and still make it work. However, that's physical distribution.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby Jastiv » 12 Jul 2019, 21:33

Free to Play isn't, despite its name, a model where the developers get no money. Basically, it works like this, the game is free to play, meaning that users can play the game without paying any money. There are a couple basic ways to monetize this, and games frequently use these methods.
The first way is to create extras in the game that are sold to a given account for some amount of money, such as cosmetic items, avatars, skins, small amounts of experience, gold, gems etc to help the player progress faster through the game.
The second way is to have advertisements. They can be optional ads that play so you can get little extras to similar to the items you can pay real money for, (but usually much smaller items)

You can also have a free to play version in addition to a subscription version, and the subscription version usually includes additional levels, content etc that makes it appealing to people who really like the basic game.
The free to play model expects that no everyone who tries, or even plays the game a lot is going to spend money on it, but that you will get a certain percent conversions who will pay and/or watch ads.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 13 Jul 2019, 01:38

I am too dignified to make people choose to watch video ads. That should not be a choice. Gamers should not willingly offer up their mindshare to advertisers. Banner ads are fine, but the payoffs with something like Google AdSense are shit. Therefore, I don't see ads as viable.

Microtransactions appeal to me as a designer, but not as a developer. The APIs for such things seem hard to use, and being locked into a platform like Google would be the worst because their customer support is infamous. I would like a personal relationship with my microtransaction network just like I know my local baker. And if their API is open source, that would be great. Would be so cool to have libmicrotransaction or stb_microtransaction in my toolbox.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 14 Jul 2019, 09:24

I just can't get over the mobile app situation. Back in the day, I tried to give my Google Play presence a makeover, but I forgot my password, or maybe it was browser compatibility or some such thing. I tried getting in touch with Google to resolve the issue, but they had stopped offering tech support by phone, so I ended up on the line with clueless customer support people. Nothing I did was enough for someone at Google to get off his ass and help a developer out.

Nowadays, any time I bring up Android in a conversation, it all but clears the room. It's like a dirty word. You can talk about software development in general, or porting to Windows/Mac/etc. But bring up Android and you're treated as the scum of the earth. I talk to a VR developer and he mentions Java, and I'm like "oh, is it Android-based"? He bows his head and acknowledges it very quietly, like he's embarrassed. I try to talk about it on forums, but the responses are generally either "mobile is shit" or "check out my new mobile F2P monetization scheme".

Android, specifically Android on mobile phones, is a valid gaming platform, and microtransactions are a valid business model. There's nothing scummy or underhanded about that. It's fair, and mobile developers should be proud about overcoming the marketing and technical challenges, and goddamn it, it would be nice to be able to talk about it. Now I know how LGBT people feel. Validate my life choices pleeeease.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby dulsi » 14 Jul 2019, 10:21

fluffrabbit {l Wrote}:Now I know how LGBT people feel.

No, you don't. Comparing developing for a game platform that people don't like is not the same as being a member of group that has been discriminated against, physically attacked, etc. Stop making stupid political comments.

Anyone who looks down on Android development should just be ignored. While I was at BostonFIG Talks, someone asked who had used RPG Maker which they clearly thought wasn't a good development platform. I was particularly surprised that the person said he couldn't develop his own engine but felt RPG Maker was bad.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby Lyberta » 14 Jul 2019, 10:31

fluffrabbit {l Wrote}:Nowadays, any time I bring up Android in a conversation, it all but clears the room. It's like a dirty word. You can talk about software development in general, or porting to Windows/Mac/etc. But bring up Android and you're treated as the scum of the earth.


Obligatory mention of PinePhone.

Anyway, I had I couple of Android phones and never used or needed Google Play. You install F-Droid, get root and remove all apps that have "Google" in it on the day of purchase. Or install Replicant.

I'm getting PinePhone and PineTab as gaming platforms too so I already bought a Bluetooth gamepad for them. Gaming without physical buttons is impossible.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 14 Jul 2019, 11:05

No, you don't. Comparing developing for a game platform that people don't like is not the same as being a member of group that has been discriminated against, physically attacked, etc. Stop making stupid political comments.

And using proprietary software is equivalent to getting... Whatever. Take a chill pill. If you're easily offended, take it up with Julius.

Anyone who looks down on Android development should just be ignored. While I was at BostonFIG Talks, someone asked who had used RPG Maker which they clearly thought wasn't a good development platform. I was particularly surprised that the person said he couldn't develop his own engine but felt RPG Maker was bad.

I'm not saying the design of Android OS is bad. It is what it is, and it works. But some people, such as you, can't seem to separate the OS from the app store, which are two distinct entities. People who fail to make that separation tend to be the first to criticize developers for targeting mobile. Everybody needs to calm down. ARM processors are powerful and touch screens aren't so bad when you get used to them. There is nothing inherently wrong with mobile.

get root

Too rich for my blood.

So I managed to recover the Google account through actually remembering the password. Google would not help me recover it, for over 5 years. Wow.

Now I see that they are requiring developers to publish their home address for all to see! What the hell? I have yet to find an alternative that does not require me to permanently settle down in a place long enough to get an accountant/representative/office where stalkers can't ruin my home life. F them.

EDIT: The home address thing is not a hard requirement. You can fill in anything to make the nagging red bar disappear, though you have to be careful about what you fill in lest it confuse users. However, there are still many hoops to jump through, and my apps have been automatically unpublished by Google every year for different reasons, every time they change their policies. Would be awesome to have other venues.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby Lyberta » 14 Jul 2019, 11:52

Wait, you mean you use your devices without having a root access to them?
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 14 Jul 2019, 11:55

When you buy a $30 prepaid smartphone, that is the case. Those things are damn hard to root because the models change so fast. Cheap cheap crap.

I certainly had a sense of humor back in the day. This was one of my game's promotional graphics.
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Re: Wiki Highlight from the Fsf and Discussion

Postby fluffrabbit » 14 Jul 2019, 12:23

Privacy Commons used to be a thing. Licensing software is so easy; you just point someone to a standard license. Not so with privacy policies. There is a a blog post regarding the legal fun with our Eurofriends. All the screeching liberals and concerned mothers would shut up if we could just point them to a document stating all the bad things that our apps do not do. Of course, it would have to be a fairly hefty document.

What personal information do you collect?
How and why do you collect this information?
How do you use this information?
How do you keep this information safe?
How long is this information kept?
Is this information shared or sold? If so, with whom?
Do any third-parties collect personal information or have access to the information you have collected?
Do you use cookies?
How can your users control any of these aspects?

My answer to all of these questions: Don't worry about it.
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