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Continuing a discussion on owning vs renting software that started in in #announcements:


@U04V70XH6 > It’s weird what we value, I guess. For example, on Patreon, you get access to different stuff at each patronage tier… Fair point; I was thinking of supporting people on github since someone else raised that example. > I think we (software developers) don’t value art/writing/music the same way we value software... I actually feel exactly the same about those — eg I strongly prefer owning (digital copies of) albums over streaming services. Cognitive bias in part, I’m sure, but I just dislike the idea of losing access to something I value & will happily pay more up front for permanence 🙂


@U077BEWNQ I can see both sides. What I like about Patreon is that you aren't, in general, paying for something specific, you're paying the artist/writer/musician (or software developer!) to produce things and you get varying levels of access and/or reward in exchange. I don't view it as "renting" so much as gaining (or losing) access to what someone is creating in a sustainable manner (or at least on the path to some sort of sustainability). I think Patreon's model has changed my view of how software developers could be paid for open source. The reward tiers could include things like a 1:1 pairing/mentoring session, additional (licensed) features in software, extra video tutorials/screencasts etc.

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On music, I have been an avid collector since the mid-'70s, initially buying cassettes (David Bowie Live at the Tower Philadelphia was my first ever about for just over four pounds, as I recall, with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti as my next two purchases). I switched over to vinyl after a few years, then over to CDs (1985, I think!), often buying the same albums over and over again on different media -- and with vinyl I would also buy colored vinyl/picture disk versions and/or high-fidelity remasterings, as well as the original vinyl. Then I switched to digital -- still purchasing and often re-buying albums again -- until I got to about 60GB of music I think it was, around 10,000 tracks. That after having over 2,000 CDs and many, many hundreds of vinyl records. In preparation for moving off Apple stuff, I uploaded all my music from iTunes to Google Music (which promptly became YouTube Music... sigh), so that I could replace my iPhone with an OnePlus Android and my iMac with a Windows box. So here I am now with all that purchased music in the cloud, along with lots of free music in the same "place"... and I still buy music and upload it. A lot of my music-loving friends switched to monthly subscription service years ago and they haven't "bought" music for years, just "rented".


Well, you definitely started out with much better taste than I did — the first two albums I bought were Hall & Oates’s “H2O” (which really hasn’t stood the test of time) and Billy Joel’s “An Innocent Man” (which still isn’t that great, but at least has some interesting musical connections with the lineage of earlier Philadelphia street-corner doo-wop). For me, as early as possible, I switched to DRM-free mp3s living on my own box, and I use Subsonic (back when you could buy that for a one-time fee rather than monthly) to stream it to myself anywhere. I have a monthly music budget which as I give as directly as I can to the artists (often via bandcamp; sometimes via just paypalling the artist money and then pirating the album), and it all goes into the collection.

Ben Sless04:09:59

I'm very conflicted. On one hand, developers need to eat. Tools developers have a harder time as their user base is way smaller. Tools developers in a small language more so. So, that I do not begrudge. What I don't like is open source projects locking down or offering new features behind paywalls. It is a different "contract" than what was set up initially. Especially projects which already have benefited from community contributions, monetary or code. This also influences my decisions and priorities for tools adoption recommendations and contributions. Why should I contribute time and work towards things other will close off later?


@UK0810AQ2 Aye, much as I'd be happy to support developers via Patreon who do that (offering patron-only features), it isn't a model I'd use myself. I've done open source for close to 30 years at this point and never expected compensation for it nor limited who can contribute or use the software. It was only with Cognitect sponsoring various developers that I even added the GitHub sponsorship feature to my account (and I am certainly very grateful for any money that comes my way through that).

Ben Sless06:09:48

I don't really mind either model, what rubs me the wrong way is the change towards a less open model. In that sense I'd rather a developer held a project's maintenance over the users' heads that closing off parts. Funding can also be preemptively done via kickstarter or gofundme. "I want to work on feature X, I expect it will take this much time, I want to make Y off it, if you want it please fund it".

Ben Sless06:09:14

There are also perks you can guarantee to paying customers such as SLAs


> What I don't like is open source projects locking down or offering new features behind paywalls. It is a different "contract" than what was set up initially. Interesting -- I have some of the same feeling for the former, but I don't for the latter. As long as a project doesn't take away existing features, I have no problem with new features being paywalled.

Ben Sless15:09:46

That's a more subtle point with regards to financial support or patches. If I contribute time or work to a project I so so under the expectations everyone will benefit, not that I will fix someone else's bugs for them to make money. It's also along the lines of open source vs free software