Shareware Beach

Monday, 27 February 2006

Can’t Get out of The Rat Race?

Filed under: Life & The Universe — Jan @ 14:10

I’ve always wondered why so many obviously skilled software developers spend a lot of time developing and supporting excellent software packages only to release those as freeware, earning their pay at the day job. There’s a lot of freeware out there that its developers could make a fine living on if they took the plunge into the shareware world.

I guess it’s the same reason why so many people keep doing the day jobs they complain so much about: it’s easier to be fed than to do your own hunting.


  1. I don’t think it’s the same reason. Charging for your freeware is a much smaller step than quitting your day job. I suspect the reason is that these programmers do not realize just how much money they are leaving on the table.

    Comment by Mark-Jan Harte — Monday, 27 February 2006 @ 18:20

  2. Perhaps because there’s a sense of a real binding commitment/obligation that comes with selling a product, whereas with something free, although you may be committed, it’s not a binding commitment. Even though the commitment may not necessarily be binding with shareware and commercial software, it can still feel like it is. You know, all the voodoo involved with the exchange of money for goods. With freeware, although you may take the quality of your software with all seriousness possible and release bugfixes within minutes of notification, it’s still nice to be able to cover your ass with the standard No-Warranty-No-Guarantees-If-It-Destroys-Your-Computer-It’s-Not-My-Fault disclaimer.

    As for the business aspect of it, many people don’t really have a knack for business, or at least lack the confidence. I certainly feel that way. I may be wrong, but I’m at a point where I really don’t want to find out. Maybe someday…

    Comment by Paul Miner — Tuesday, 28 February 2006 @ 5:10

  3. Probably, developing freeware products is just a hobby for those programmers. But what I really don’t understand is how large projects like Firefox can be freeware. What is the profit for Mozilla to develop and support it?

    Comment by Eugene — Tuesday, 28 February 2006 @ 16:10

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