Hey all, we're planning to migrate servers around Monday, so there will be a bit of downtime :) I can be contacted at dion@thinkmoult.com for anything urgent.

Funding Open Source Development: A stab at an open and distributed method of profit sharing

edited September 2020 in General

Making open source software profitable is a hard nut to crack.

At the end of the day, the momentum of open source development is contingent on people getting paid for the time it takes to improve the software.

Finding a way to keep all the code open, but still making money, is often hard.

Not that we have all the answers, but @yorik and I wanted to test run an idea that tries to find a solution to this, and if it works out, hopefully have it become a staple of all OpeningDesign projects going forward and we hope an approach other firms can take too.

The idea is to dedicate 10% of the fee from OpeningDesign projects to those individuals that provide solicited, and/or unsolicited, help during the project.  More than likely this help would come in the way of open source software development and instruction, but could also apply to individuals providing an added service, above and beyond what is scoped, that the ultimate client finds useful.

The thought is to have the dedicated team, that has dedicated and paid roles during the project, vote for how this 10% should be dolled out to those 'distributed' individuals that helped, directly or indirectly during the course of the project.

For this particular test run project, which is a residence in Atlanta, GA, the dedicated team is as follows...

  • Yorik Van Harve (@yorik ): design and software development
  • Ryan Schultz (@theoryshaw ): design and project management
  • Regis Nde Tene: production drawings
  • Luis C. Pérez Tato (@luis ): structural engineering

As the project unfolds, however, this dedicated team might change, but this is the start. 

Specifically,  Luis C. Pérez Tato, is looking to potentially use Code Aster for their scope of work.

The rest of the team will use BlenderBIM and potentially FreeCAD to produce design and construction documents. 

The files for this project will live here

And the team communication will take place here

Although this 'distributed help' could be anything, from anyone, anticipated criteria might include.

  • help with and development of the BlenderBIM drawing/sheet layout and documentation
  • helping Luis learn and navigate Code Aster
  • Specifically, the ultimate client was interested in potentially running an energy modelling simulation with the ultimate BlenderBIM model.  Individuals with intimate knowledge of programs like EnergyPlus, Openstudio, VI-Suite might be interested.
    • In fact,  the client expressed potentially providing funding this scope of work.  For those interested, and with the knowledge, please send Yorik (yorik@openingdesign.com) and I (ryan@openingdesign.com) an ultimate proposal for your service.  Or simply share your idea in this thread below. Would love to have a dedicated team member for this scope of work.

Again, we don't have all the answers, and this might not work, and/or change immensely overtime, but we hope there's a plausible promise here--one that is a win-win for everyone in the industry.

There has to be a better way, let's find it!

Please let me know your thoughts.

Best, Ryan



  • Cool, would like to see a complete workflow from conceptual outline sketch to production drawing, documentation etc.

  • @theoryshaw: great initiative!
    Regarding the structural engineering part with Code_Aster, I would be available to help if you and @Luis find it useful.
    In that case, let's arrange a call and discuss.

  • Love this initiative! It is very generous, but hopefully sets a precedent for others to follow. I'm also very excited with @Jesusbill helping out @Luis with Code_Aster, as I get the impression that Code_Aster is much more mature than the architectural FOSS tools.

    Keep the bug reports coming, and also very happy to give as much Blender guidance as I can.

  • edited September 2020

    @theoryshaw said:
    Although this 'disturbed help' could be anything, from anyone, anticipated criteria might include.

    Watch the spelling ... I hope the help is more distributed than disturbed.

  • edited September 2020

    ha.. yep!.... and why i'm an architect.
    fixed!... with 4 hours to spare. :)

  • Seem like there could be some nice synergy between this project and the following initiative...

  • There is also vi-suite from Ryan Southall, dedicated to energy / foam / light analysis also using same backgrounds as ladybug. Sent invite to him and i expect something interresting may emerge.

  • +1 on vi-suite, it's a great project!

  • edited April 2023

    We wanted to start this initiative again.

    The residential project, mentioned above, in Atlanta has been dragging out for years, and really hasn't moved much in years.

    Fast forward to the present day, as some of you know, @bruno_perdigao and I have been working on this live project over the last couple weeks. It's a simple project, with a simple scope of work. The total fee was $2000.

    But this is really the first project OpeningDesign has done where we used only open source software--BlenderBIM!

    So in light of reinvigorating this initiative, @bruno_perdigao and I have humbly shared a portion of this project's revenue with BlenderBIM/IFCopenShell.

    As I mentioned in initial post above, our intention is to realize a robust and sustainable way to develop open source software. This approach might not work--10% might be too much, or too little-- I don't know.

    I just know that we have to throw something up, and see if it sticks--i think there's a sweet spot there somewhere.

    Specifically I'd like to thank @moult, @Andrej730, @Massimo, @brunopostle, and @Coen for digging us out of the trenches when we ran into bugs, and shot out feature requests. It makes it less scary and a testament to why I believe an open source way of working has to be the future.

    All the Best, Ryan

    paulleeMassimoMoultcarlopavAndrej730brunopostleCyrilGorgiousJanFbruno_perdigaoand 2 others.
  • @theoryshaw thanks to you for this initiative!
    What i liked about the project done in BBim is that it tried to solve a real work problem with the help of everybody.
    Everybody shared the knowledge voluntarily so, in this way, the project benefits from the help of everybody and every person learn from others how to tackle real work problems.
    I hope this will continue in future :-)

  • edited April 2

    @theoryshaw said:
    This approach might not work--10% might be too much, or too little-- I don't know.

    Yep, way too much. haha. :)
    I was a little naive in how inefficient we would be with alpha software. Unfortunately, we're running at a loss on our projects.
    Sorry for getting over eager on this initiate. :)
    I do think @chopinregis and I are reaching a productivity tipping point with BB, however. And as such, I would like to keep exploring this initiative in the future, and dial into a percentage that makes sense financially, relative to how productive the company is.
    That being said, I'm happy to announce a 5% profit share ($545.40) to @yorik, for our residential project, mentioned above. Yorik has been producing this project in FreeCAD, and as core developer, he's quite efficient at using it. :) Repo's here, if interested.
    Thanks @yorik, always a pleasure working with you.

  • Thanks @theoryshaw !! This will fuel NativeIFC development further! We're closer than ever to our mythical goal of roundtripping IFC files

  • I'm extremely grateful for all the financial support you've contributed to the FOSS BIM world @theoryshaw ! It's truly an exemplar of how our industry should be.

    (I'm also blown away by how far you managed to push very, very, alpha software!)

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