I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make a living as an independent OS developer. A subscription model based on a paywall has worked out well for independent publishers (think Memberful, Ghost Members and Substack) and I think a similar model could work for OS devs as well.
When I work with a framework or larger library I usually find myself with 10+ tabs open into the doc site by the end of the day and I think this level of usage should warrant a subscription. So if a doc site that I used a lot had a paywall for heavy users I would definitely sign up for it, but most importantly this would also make it easy for companies to pay for it. Donations are simple for individuals, but in a corporation, approving voluntary spending is usually a complicated bureaucratic matter. However, a paywall subscription is just an ordinary expense like any other developer tool that teams can sign up for with a credit card, making it easy for companies to support OS. I wrote this up in more detail exploring other models as well in the blog post: A New Open Source Business Model
I’ve also built a prototype for a documentation paywall network called Dokknet. Dokknet is a forkable company which means that its code is not only open source, but also makes it easy to replicate its services. I explain how that works in this post: A Forkable Company
I would love to hear your feedback here or in person. I arrive in Brussels this afternoon and I will be at Sustain Summit tomorrow. You can also reach out to me on my Twitter.