Hi. I’ve been lurking here for a couple months, but haven’t got around to introducing myself or asking the questions that have been on my mind. I found this forum by searching for “free software considered harmful”, which led me to this blog post, which mentioned License Zero, which led me here.
I would very much like there to be an open, efficient market for reusable software components (i.e. packages, like NPM packages, not just programs to be used by end users). Probably for the same reasons most of you are interested in such things. For one thing, it would be nice if I (and others) could make a good living as an independent developer selling components. I also think it could result in higher quality software than the current status quo, where almost all components available for use are “free”.
I have a lot of thoughts about this subject, but I suspect they’re mostly not original. I’d really like to catch up on what other people in the field have been thinking and saying, but I’m not sure where to find such things, aside from this forum and a few blog posts like the one I mentioned above. It would be great if there was sort of an introductory summary on the topic somewhere that people could point me to.
I guess my initial questions boil down to:
- Is it currently possible to make a living as an independent developer of reusable packages?
- What needs to happen before it becomes practical, or maybe even easy? Or is there no way to get there from here?
My impression is that it’s currently very difficult, if not impossible. Not just because “writing software is hard”; I don’t expect that to become easy, but at least I know how to do it, more or less. I’m thinking of other problems having to do with pricing models, marketing/discovery, enforcement, cultural shift, and so on.
I’m happy to post more details about my thoughts, but like I said, they’re probably mostly things you’ve all already thought of.