When I was thinking about all this I learned that Sourceforge released a new program to fund development of free/open source software with a revenue sharing program called DevShare. Reading the press release, DevShare offers free software developers the option to bundle extra software with their downloads and share revenues with SourceForge. When a user downloads FileZilla for example, she’s offered the option to install also another piece of software with FileZilla. SourceForge is not the first site to offer bundled downloads but it does it with a better approach, avoiding traps. They looked at best practice policies to avoid confusing end-users with misleading installation flows and promises to provide clear documentation and procedures to uninstall undesired applications.
The revenue sharing with the developers is what is most interesting to me: developers who voluntarily decided to join similar programs are often required to spend time integrating their applications with third party installers, and have limited control over what and how that’s offered to their end-users. SourceForge’s program on the other hand seems to be very open and transparent towards the developers. I’ll be following the evolution of the program, hoping that free lance open source developers find motivation.