Should developers make users pay for open source software?

In today's open source roundup: A redditor thinks that GNOME developers should make him pay for software. Plus: Ubuntu 14.10 may be a boring release, and the FBI doesn't like encryption that protects user privacy

One of the best things about open source software is the ability to use software without having to pay for it. But is this really a sustainable model? Or has the time come for open source developers to start requiring users to pay for software? A redditor thinks that GNOME developers should start making him pay for software.

According to Reddit:

I have switched from OSX to Linux (first Ubuntu, then Fedora) about two years ago and although I personally love Linux and sticking with it, I'm not going to convince my mother to make the switch. When I first made the switch I believed all the people who said it's just as easy as windows or OSX but truthfully, it isn't. It think there are several reasons but my biggest complaint is availability of apps/software. Not all programs are available for all distros and sometimes one has to wait forever for an update (llibreoffice, geary etc).

I think there is a good chance this could change if developers start making money from their hard work. My biggest hope here is gnome software. While it's only available on Fedora right now there are already talks of it being used in the future on arch and ubuntu gnome.

I would love to see more software / apps being developed for Linux, software that is user friendly, gets regulary updated and most important of all, sticks to the GNU principles. I'd be willing to pay for that.

More at Reddit
Should open source developers charge users money for software?
Image credit: Tech Rights

Should users pay for open source software? This is a very interesting question, and not one you see come up very often in the open source community. I give the redditor credit for bringing it up and risking the wrath of the open source community. Such ideas are generally considered unpopular among many open source users.

Fortunately, I don't think it's really necessary for developers to begin charging users. Many open source projects accept voluntary donations from users that want to support them. The redditor mentioned GNOME in his message, and I'm pleased to note that he and any other GNOME user can make a donation to support GNOME right now.

And there are plenty of other open source projects and Linux distributions that will accept donations. Just poke around on their site and you can usually locate a donation page or button. I don't think any of them would turn down financial support from users.

But will donations deal with the other issues raised in the redditor's message such application availability and updates? Unfortunately, there's no guarantee of that at all but regular donations to a project might provide additional incentive for developers to improve such things.

Ubuntu 14.10 may be a boring release

Softpedia is warning that the media may characterize the release of Ubuntu 14.10 as boring.

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