Would you pay for Open Source Software

Recently Peter Toft wrote a blog entry (in Danish) entitled Hånden på hjertet: Vil du betale for Open Source?, which roughly translates into
Honestly, would you pay for Open Source?

The blog post and the associated comments are all in Danish, but those who answered yes can be split into three groups (I’m generalizing a bit here, read the comments, if you want the details)

  • Yes, and I do occasionally. Either through one-time donations or buying merchandise.
  • Yes, and I have some sort of monthly subscription/membership, like jointhegame.kde.org/ or FSF.
  • Yes, but I don’t know where to throw my money.
    If I had to support the development of all the (open source) software I use, it would ruin me, because I use so many open source programs. If there was a central place I could pay, and have my money distributed, that would work for me.

I myself belong in the first category, mainly through merchandise purchases.
But I must admit that I do share some of the thoughts of the people in the last category. If I want to donate my money to pay for developer hours and I don’t want the hassle of shopping around, to locate and distribute money to all the many projects deserving support, where do I go?

So I would like to bring Peters question to the wider audience of Planet Ubuntu. (If you found this blog post through some other means, feel free to share your thoughts as well).

Would you pay for Open Source Software?

If yes, what would/do you pay for?
A specific product, monthly subscriptions, merchandise or something else?

If no, why not?
Is free the most important aspect of Free Software?
Are there to many places to throw your money, so you choose not to at all?

Would you be interested in donating to some sort of foundation, whose sole purpose it was to pay Open Source developers to work full time on what ever project they were working on?
Photo by: Philip Taylor


I recently stumbled upon Bitcoin, which is a digital currency enabling (among other things) anonymous money transfers without any central control.

Given your point of view that can either be a very good or a very bad ting.
Often an economy outside control or regulation of regular society is associated with criminal activities. But as was shown when the big credit card companies and PayPal (and others) turned off Wikileaks ability to receive funding (even though no court had ruled Wikileaks illegal), a currency with these attributes seems to have some justification.
Anyway, since the technology exists, my opinion for or against is really irrelevant. It is out there, and can’t really be shut down (without shutting down mostly the entire internet, or installing government spy-ware on each and ever computer in use today).

For details about the technical implementation or the economical aspects of Bitcoin I will refer you to the Bitcoin faq, but so far what I’m really missing is places to actually pay with Bitcoin.
The few places that do accept Bitcoin just aren’t enough, so for now the technical aspects are what fascinates me, but if the project takes off, shopping with Bitcoin in the future doesn’t seem to unrealistic.
If anyone out there know of any great sites that use Bitcoin today (besides the ones listed on the Bitcoin homepage) or have great ideas for some places where Bitcoin could be useful, feel free to share.

Edit, november 2017: Removed key, as I no longer have the private-key, and changed links from bitcoin<dot>org to bitcoin.com