Business model for LVGL's editor


As you might have hear that we have ended our collaboration with SquareLine Studio and now we are thinking about our LVGL UI editor.

We already have a solid vision about the technical part and features (I’ll share these soon) but I’m still not sure about the business model.

This is how I see it now:

  • Free: Great for the community and the users at first look, but the bad commercial model is unhealthy for the project too. With a free project it’s hard to hire full time employees and keep the maintainers motivated.
  • Open source: It’s great for fast bug fixing, fast spreading, etc, but hard from the commercial point of view.

I learn these from LVGL itself. It evolves so fast, and attracts a lot of people but it’s hard to make it sustainable. So I have these options in mind:

  1. Open source with dual license: GPL + commercial
  2. Closed source but free for public projects

I’m very very curious about your ideas and comments on this topic.

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This is a pretty easy thing to decide actually.

what you need to look at is how much you would make from the commercial licenses. Is that money going to be enough to pay for developers to develop at the same speed as an opensource project would get developed at? Remember open source = not paying for developers. so commercial sales of the software would be money in the pocket. You can offer bounties to get “free” developers more motivated but it has to be a sum of money that aligns with the amount of work involved. Just as in trade jobs like welding there is a HUGE difference in the quality of the work when you pay a person 15.00 an hour VS 35.00 an hour for a person that is more seasoned.

The local government where I live (county) has set aside 2 million dollars USD for new software to handle property value assessments. I made the suggestion to them to put together a list of what you want the software to do and put up a million dollar bounty for it. Then they would own the code and they would be able to make any changes they wanted. They would have to pay a person or 2 for a year or so to handle fixing any bugs they might come across and after that they could pay for updates to the code from the person that originally developed it when they want something changed or they could keep a single person on staff that would be responsible to making changes. It would cost them far less money to do that. There is no money paid unless the requirements are met and they get what they want. There would be a crap load of people that would write the software so there would be a plethora of competition which will mean the quality will be really high. IDK if they have considered my idea or not but it is a good one that’s for sure.

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Hello kisvegabor,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on LVGL editor business model. It’s crucial to strike a balance between community support and sustainability. Considering LVGL rapid evolution, a dual license approach could check both project viability and community engagement. This model allows for commercial use while still maintaining an open-source foundation. Looking forward to seeing how LVGL editor evolves.

Best regards
Usha vilash

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Thank you for the feedback so far! Both are very valuable!

When I look back, licensing for SLS was not so bad with free or monthly subscription. I mostly used free one for prototyping, but I would buy SMB licence to finish and export project from it. I do not know what your plans are for “new” GUI editor, but it maybe would be suitable to go with same path as Ondsel did go. Develop for paying customers and bring that back to the FOSS. I guess that you would find many companies which would be willing to pay for custom design. You can maybe have some board here in the forum, where you can offer paid work for these customers.

Those are my ideas and I hope you will make even better SW than SLS was, but this time will be FOSS so anybody can contribute same way to it as to the LVGL. :slightly_smiling_face:


I would pick the 1st option as well.

  1. Open source with dual license: GPL + commercial
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Quick update:
There is a silence on our side not because nothing is happening but the opposite. So many things are happening (especially from business POV) that it would be too early to say anything.

I would like to emphasis the 2 boundaries that we set for ourselves:

  1. LVGL needs to remain free, open-source (MIT) and platform independent: no matter what LVGL needs to have the same model as it has now.
  2. We need to have a platform independent editor which is free at least for open source projects. (Can be closed-sourced and can be paid for commercial)

As I’ve spent my last 10 years with you, the community of LVGL, I would like to assure you that I won’t let you down, and come up with a solution which will strengthen LVGL even more.