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Open-source and still own the app?

LaumaniaLaumania DKMember ✭✭✭

Hi All

Over the years I have created a danish app, that collects and show users crime/police related news in Denmark.

The app is free and I make money through a banner ad at the top. Not much money, still enough to pay for my yearly Xamarin licenses for instance :)

Last release were a year ago or so.

So far, this entire app, and all the services behind it, collecting data etc. have been closed source.

Later this year, I'm planning to start up on version 3 of this app, and will be rewriting the entire thing more or less from the ground up. I really enjoy and like open-source (especially Github), the whole idea of others devs being able to help out via pull-request, report bugs and the fact that other devs can look at my code and learn from it - or maybe suggest a better way of doing things.
You know, all the good open-source stuff.

Therefore I created this repo, which in time of writing, is fairly empty as the project wouldn't start until late 2015.

So, that was kind of the background, here comes the question. I have researched a lot but can't seem to find the answer, which made me end up here :)

As you see, I make money on this app and I would actually like to continue with that. Either through ads or via in-app purchases. No matter what, because this app is able to make "some money" changes are that people will steal/copy/rebrand etc. my app.

I know that I cannot avoid this completely, or well I can if I go back to close source, but I would really like to make this as a open-source project.

Yeah, I know it might sound silly....but I would really like to hear some feedback/ideas on this topic.


  • LaumaniaLaumania DKMember ✭✭✭

    Just read my thread again here today and see a lot of mistakes in spelling/language. Sadly I cannot edit it, so hope you understand what I mean anyways :)

  • LaumaniaLaumania DKMember ✭✭✭

    Ok...apparently nobody have any input on this - it's also a difficult topic :)

  • JasonAwbreyJasonAwbrey USInsider, University, Developer Group Leader mod

    this probably isn't the best place to get legal advice... and the specific answer will depend a lot on the specific license you publish your code under, as well as the laws of your country

    but as a practical matter if I wanted to publish an app commercially, and make money off of it either through ads or straight sales, then I would NOT publish the code for it.

  • LaumaniaLaumania DKMember ✭✭✭

    Ok thanks - from my research it seems like that would be the best solution to just stay closed source...sadly.

  • JimBennettJimBennett GBXamarin Team, Insider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭✭

    I've got an app that is closed source - it talks to a Plex media server and shows what is playing now.
    The core app framework I've open sourced.
    The library that talks to Plex I've also open sourced.

    The app itself is closed source.

    It means someone could duplicate my app by rebuilding the app parts, which I think is an acceptable risk as it's not that popular an app. It also means people can contribute to my app framework and Plex code if they want to.

    Best of both worlds.

  • LaumaniaLaumania DKMember ✭✭✭

    Yeah that could work for me too, maybe. Need to think about that.

    It seems there is no good way to doing this open-source, so I guess I will just go closed source.

    Thanks for you replies guys :)

  • JohnHardmanJohnHardman GBUniversity mod

    I'm thinking of doing something similar, although haven't firmed up the detail yet. I am developing a large app, that has potential to interact with many other systems. My thinking is that I may open source some parts of the app, but not all of it. I need to look into licenses to see which could be used, so would be interested in hearing what you decide.

  • LaumaniaLaumania DKMember ✭✭✭

    What I'm thinking about is, if my "app+system" is actually making any sense for other, if only the "system" part is open-source.

    In my case, the "system" is the service gathering, parsing and importing all relevant data. I'm not sure that by it self is very useful for others...which is why I'm currently thinking of just going back to closed source, as v1 and v2 of the app has been.

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