My name is James and I'm...
not an alcoholic. But I do have a confession to make-
I too have dreamed of earning money via linuxMCE.
I've been afraid to bring it up before because although I don't know the history, I've often come across posts on the forum where people have been sent packing when there was any sort of commercial flavour to their interest in this project. I bring it up now partly because the issue has come up again and partly because I've almost given up on that dream...
Deep breath... so can I ask the following of you guys-
Firstly, please don't alienate me and chase me out of town with pitchforks for raising this discussion. I love linuxMCE and would love to be part of the project, ultimately contributing once I have built up the skills to do so. I've tried a bit but I'm still very green. Regardless of whether or not you guys dash my dream of quitting my dayjob for this, I want to stick with the project for personal use and, as I said above, keep my software skills sharp by contributing.
And then, be gently honest with me about the issues surrounding earning an income related to linuxMCE. I'll tell you my thinking, and you can, gently, explain where I'm off track.
Reasoning- quite simple, of course. I want to do something (for a living that is) that I love. Which is greedy at this point because I have a pretty decent job in software development and I almost love it. But it's in a big corporate with all the red-tape and process and egos and bad decisions and poor management and closed-source, proprietary software and so difficult to actually do anything that really adds value. And a wee bit less flexible in terms of time and location than I would, in my greediness, like.
So for a long time I've been thinking I need to "do my own thing". And then I was introduced to linuxMCE. And it blew my socks off. Not from the dollar-potential, but just because it really ticked all the boxes for me. Open-source, freely avaiable, linux-based and basically intrinsically better than anything else out there. So I got stuck in and blundered around as a newbie does, figuring out how I can set up my own system. Then, shortly after getting my first MD up and running, I got the idea that maybe this was it... maybe if I could get the skills in this I could somehow earn a living helping people set up their own systems. And if I could do that, wouldn't that just be my dream job?
My idea was that I would not sell the software or the hardware... I would sell my time. My time would be sold as advice/ desgin/ consulting/ support/ assistance or actual setup. Yes, I imagined selling turnkey type solutions but explicitly with the lids off both in terms of hardware and software- eg. I can either design the system for you and charge you for my time (you can buy the hardware and install it) or I can design it, charge for my time and charge for my time sourcing the hardware and setting it up. And I would always be absolutely open and upfront about the whole thing - point the to the project, explain that it was free and open and they could do it themselves if they wanted or, at any time, chuck my services and take over.
Now, to my mind, that didn't violate any of the licenses.... and maybe it would have worked, maybe it wouldn't. Certainly I'm nowhere near having the skills or knowhow to do it....
But then with more reading on the forums, I came across the posts where anyone with a commercial interest was sent packing. Of course, in all the cases I agreed with the lambasting because it was some joker coming on as a complete newbie and essentially wanting the community to help him for free while he earned cash. And that wasn't even vaguely where my dream was... but some of the comments made me think it went quite a bit beyond that... to the point where any type of income earned related to linuxMCE was going to get you ostracised from the community. That's how it appears at least.
And if that's the case, I'm quite prepared to accept that and forget about my dream and carry on as a normal (for now) and hopefully one day super user that can give back more than I got out.
However, if it's not the case, and some of you guys are prepared to clarify to me what the position of the community is in this regard, without forever hating me ignoring me on IRC and forums just for raising this, then I'd really welcome your feedback. This thread happens to include most of the guys that I respect in the community already so it seemed the ideal place to post this question.
Thoughts? Flames? Severe beatings?
Incidentally, believe it or not, I hoped that if by some chance I was successful with my venture, I would really be able to give back in a big way. You see, currently I have a std day job that more or less supports the family, full time at home and very little time I can give to linuxMCE. Which was one of the reasons I hoped to make it my vocation. Because then I could devote all my working time to the project.... and hopefully not just mine, but a team of developers. See, I already manage a team of software developers... that's what I do. And I thought of bailing, starting my own company, and then pulling the best of them in to work on linuxMCE- Firstly to become experts in it, and secondly to start contributing. Obviously we'd be contributing in specific areas where we felt there was a market but being open source, everything we developed would go straight back to the project for everyone to use. Because we wouldn't be selling the software or the hardware, we'd be selling our expertise... so success for linuxMCE would mean success and a market for us.
I welcome your thoughts guys. Be gentle.... it's not everyday someone tells you their dream!