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Awesome OSS Monetization

A curated list of awesome monetization approaches for open source software. Currently, probably with a slight bias towards open source libraries (like react.js, core-js, etc.) rather than open source programs (like OpenOffice, MariaDB, etc.).

Furthermore, the monetization approaches are meant for maintainers of the OSS - not external third-parties trying to make money with an OSS (e.g., by getting hired as an Consultant for an OSS).

Table of Contents

This list is the result of extensive internet research, compiling all the monetization approaches we could find from various sources. Please note that the list, classification and terminology represents a subjective opinion on the subject.

Feel free to commit corrections, additions, or further examples. The contribution guidelines are here

Monetization Approaches

In the following sections you can find the categorized list of monetization approaches for open-source software. The categories are based on the concept the payer is paying for - e.g., the category “Paid Content” combines approaches where a User pays for some additional content such as Merchandise.

An explanation of the Used Characteristics with metrics can be found below.

Unconditional Funding

Special Monetization Approaches


Used Characteristics

In order to compare, evaluate, and explain the monetization approaches, several characteristics were used. In general, we are assuming that all contributors are on board and have agreed on a distribution key for the income.

Maintainer-specific Characteristics

Payer-specific Characteristics

Monetization Approach-specific Characteristics

Monetization Risks

If you want to monetize your open-source project several factors have to be considered. For legal and tax related info you should ask a lawyer or tax advisor - potentially, for all countries in which your contributors live in.




[4] Charvat, Karel & Cerba, Otakar & Ježek, Jan & Fryml, Josef & Pospisil, Martin. (2009). Open Source Business Models and Strategies.

[5] Sayeed, L., Verma, S., & Bora, A. (2002). Open Source Software Licensing and Business Models. In Proceedings of the Seventh Asia-Pacific Decision Sciences Institute Conference.