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Making Living

The question of how to make a living by making something that's to be given out for free and without limitations is one of the most common in the context of FOSS/free culture. Noobs often avoid this area just because they think it can't be done, even though there are ways of doing this and there are many people making living on FOSS, albeit ways perhaps more challenging than those of proprietary products.

One has to be aware that money and commercialization always brings a high risk of profit becoming the highest priority (which is a "feature" hard-wired in capitalism) which will compromise the quality and ethics of the produced work. Profiting specifically requires abusing someone else, taking something away from them. Therefore it is ideal to create LRS on a voluntary basis, for free, in the creator's spare time. This may be difficult to do but one can choose a lifestyle that minimizes expenses and therefore also time needed to spend at work, which will give more free time for the creation of LRS. This includes living frugally, not consuming hardware and rather reusing old machines, making savings, not spending on unnecessary things such as smoking or fashion etc. And of course, if you can't make LRS full-time, you can still find relatively ethical ways of it supporting you and so, again, giving you a little more freedom and resources for creating it.

Also if can somehow rip off a rich corporation and get some money for yourself, do it. Remember, corporations aren't people, they can't feel pain, they probably won't even notice their loss and even if you hurt them, you help the society by hurting a predator.

Is programming software the only way to make money with LRS? No, you can do anything related to LRS and you don't even have to know programming. You can create free art such as game assets or writings, you can educate, write articles etc.

Making Money With "FOSS"

For inspiration we can take a look at traditional ways of making money in FOSS, even if a lot of them may be unacceptable for us as the business of the big FOSS is many times not so much different from the business of big tech corporations.

With open source it is relatively easy to make money and earn salary as it has become quite successful on the market -- the simplest way is to simply get a job at some company making open source software such as Mozilla, Blender etc. However the ethics of the open source business is often questionable. Even though open source technically respects the rules of free software licenses, it has (due to its abandonment of ethicality) found ways to abuse people in certain ways, e.g. by being a capitalist software. Therefore open source software is not really LRS and we consider this way of making money rather harmful to others.

Working for free software organizations such as the FSF is a better way of making living, even though still not perfect: FSF has been facing some criticism of growing corruption and from the LRS point of view they do not address many issues of software such as bloat, public domain etc.

Way Of Making Money With LRS

Considering all things mentioned above, here are some concrete things of making money on LRS. Keep in mind that a lot of services (PayPal, Patreon etc.) listed here may possibly be proprietary and unethical, so always check them out and consider free alternatives such as Liberapay. The methods are following:

All content available under CC0 1.0 (public domain). Send comments and corrections to drummyfish at disroot dot org.