"Okay so let me get this straight, when we first spoke it was $13k to own it, and now its free? Are you sure about this?" a dear friend and repeat client who runs an agency just asked me.
I get that you want to provide for your family, sooo what are you thinking?
Are we going to offer a "freemeium" model where you get crippleware for free and the useful parts in expensive add-ons?
Are we going to have a different license depending who you are?
Are we going have a donation button or something?
Yes, but it will point to our favorite charity, which can do more good with the cash than us.
So I give up, why do you think destroying your perfectly viable license revenue is going to provide stability and creative freedom?
Here's what I see. The biggest challenge my crew has is bizdev. We're not perfect at everything, but we sure can deliver sweet stuff and we improve every day, execept for sales.
We've only really won good gigs through word of mouth. We've tried just about everything, and without marrying yourself to a particular vertical, it's very difficult to define a meaningful marketing strategy for a web/IT services company that wants to do "cool stuff." From my experience you do your best, and try to cultivate as many life long associates and friends who will recommend you as you go.
As the network slowly grows, things get easier over time, but it doesn't really deliver with security and creative freedom if it ties you to a limited local gossipy scene. (yeah i said it).
So while completely giving away something we have and can charge a lot for, we're actually doing ourselves a practical favor. Sure, we'll be giving up a revenue stream, but we're dropping a expensive business development challenge that we've never been good at or interested in solving. We certainly will still spend some real resources to make Concrete5 known – but a lot of that can be our time instead of cash. Moreover, if what we've been working on all these years is really as good as we think it is, we stand to jump-start a process that would traditionally take much longer. I'm interesting in seeing what a larger open source developer community might contribute to the project from a code standpoint, but I'm hungry for their evangelism about concrete5 to their clients. I don't need (or want) to own every dollar that is made off of concrete5. Why not just get out of the way and respond to opportunities as they arise as thousands of people deliver concrete5 powered solutions to their clients?
That's the practical reason to go "free beer." The real one is better:
Content management is a basic human right.
It costs next to nothing to write your thoughts on a piece of paper and nail it to a door, it should cost about the same to make a basic website without it having to be a blog. If we can do that, we'll win one way or another.