Do you think jQuery will ever become a startup: making money with software libraries

  1. Do you think they are making money
    out of jQuery javascript library?
  2. It seems it gets a lot of efforts in
    doing something like jQuery, what's
    the catch?
  3. More generally speaking, if someone
    decide to sell a software library,
    do you think he can make any money
    out of it?



asked Apr 14 '10 at 06:52
Marco Demaio
175 points

4 Answers


Unless you can make a library that is considerably better than what is open-sourced you will be out of luck. But, on the ASP side there are some for-pay component libraries that make it easier for developers, so it can work, depending on the market focus.

jQuery won't be anything other than free, I expect, as John Resig, the main person behind it, seems to be very involved with open-source, since he is heavily involved with Firefox development.

There are many benefits in learning how to create your own library, depending on your interests. In the past it was almost a rite of passage for Unix programmers to write their own shells, I can see the same idea for people to write their own frameworks.

answered Apr 14 '10 at 09:24
James Black
2,642 points


  1. Unlikely, but it is possible someone will buy them. Look what happen to MySQL.
  2. A lot of it is contributed by community
  3. It depends on the library and demand for it. Linux vs. Ubuntu.
It seems a bit a different turn of events here:
answered Apr 14 '10 at 09:40
1,698 points
  • What do you mean Linux vs Ubuntu? Ubuntu uses the Linux kernel (generally). – J. Pablo Fern├índez 14 years ago
  • This is exactly what I meant. Ubuntu is free, just as Linux, but added options, like support costs money. They took free product and put a personal spin on it. I would not want to use Linux on my PC but I have Ubuntu on two laptops. Back to your question, can you sell libraries. Yes and no. You may mav a library that many like but nobody wants to pay for, but perhaps you can charge for set-up or custom work?.. – Usabilitest 14 years ago


It's cliche to say you can make money on open source tools by selling support, but the guys at ExtJs do exactly that -- and that's another cross-browser Javascript library, so it's a very relevant example!

Having said that, there's only a few companies that truly just make money off support. The jQuery guys might have enough eyeballs that they could get away with it, but in general I would advise against that as a business strategy if you're starting from scratch.

answered Apr 14 '10 at 13:51
16,231 points


No, I don't think so. Why would they be selling? Support? that's not a startup, that's a consulting business around a specific library. It might go very well but it won't scale like selling copies of a program or a monthly subscription to a service.

If you are thinking of creating a layer of code on top of jQuery that makes it better and is not free, I really doubt people will pick it up. They'll just use plain jQuery.

answered Apr 14 '10 at 16:30
J. Pablo Fernández
412 points

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