Holding code "ransom" is a way of releasing software, in which software developers write some code that is held ransom (i.e. "not released") until a certain amount of money is reached during a specified period of time. Other open source projects have used this approach successfully and we figured that we could give it a try.
First of all, the rules:
- The total amount to be collected before the plugin can be released is 100€. This is a very small fee compared to the amount of work we've put into the plugin and LifeType in general, but we'll start small and see how it goes.
- You've got until the 16th of June at 23:59 GMT to reach the amount.
- Please make the donations via the project's PayPal account:
- Users who contribute towards the total amount will not be provided the plugin immediately and will have to wait until the total amount is reached. Otherwise there'd be no incentive to provide no more than 1€ and run away with the code.
- Once the amount has been reached, the plugin will be released under the GPL like all other components of LifeType.
- The plugin will be supported as any other plugin once it has become free, and further updates will also be provided for free.
- This post will be updated with further information regarding this topic (like the total amount of money received so far)
Now, about the plugin... The development team has implemented a plugin that will allow site owners to define 'blocks' of content that will be dynamically inserted into blog content before it is sent to the browser. One of the most direct applications of this plugin is to insert common headers or footers in blog pages (a feature that many blog communities have requested) The plugin comes with some predefined locations where the content can be placed (header, footer, etc) so that it can be quickly integrated into running sites. Additionally, custom content placing logic can be implemented to provide even more flexibility.
Additionally, different blocks of content can be applied to different blogs so for example all blogs get the common header with a block of ads except those in a specified list, which presumably would be those that paid a certain fee to become 'pro' blogs.
Documentation detailing all the features of the plugin is already available in the wiki so that you can get an idea of what the plugin does. We've also set up a couple of demo blogs here, where you can see how out of four blogs, three of them have a block with Google ads at the top and one of them doesn't (this one)
As stated at the beginning of this post, we're just testing alternative ways to release software. We truly believe in free software but we also believe that there are ways in which the development team can be compensated for their work... But don't be afraid, we are not planning to releasing all future plugins following the same approach.