By "consumer software", I mean stand-alone software that an end-user would directly download and use on a desktop or phone. No business or corporation involved. I have read these questions on the matter:
- How can free and open source projects be monetized?
- How is selling FLOSS packages for monetary compensation a viable strategy?
- Making money with Open Source as a developer?
The typical recommendations are to sell a service, sell support, sell customization, or sell consulting if there are a lot of configuration options. However, all these options assume B2B sales. An end-user for consumer software expects to pay a fee and use the program with minimum friction. For well designed software, they may never need to look at the help menu.
If the software itself is the product, I cannot think of a viable FLOSS business model nor am I aware of existing commercial consumer software that is FLOSS. It also seems like others have come to the same conclusion as me. I did find, however, examples, of commercial consumer software that was resold at a price lower than the original. IANAL, but from my understanding of FLOSS licenses, you cannot restrict someone's ability to sell your FLOSS code in any fashion. So no matter what, if you're just selling software, someone else can always undercut your price. Also, someone could fork your code and build a competing product. Which is partly the point of FLOSS, but from a business point of view, reduces your competitive advantage.
I've looked into the Open-core model which seems like the next best option for commercial consumer software. But again, all the examples I've found are libraries or SaaS companies. You could also argue that the open-core model restricts user freedom, but I haven't found any commentary from an expert on the matter. Apparently, some programs have open source code, but proprietary content and assets, but this only seems appropriate for software that's orientated around entertainment.
From my research, if you can only sell your software, there are nearly no FLOSS options you can build a business around. If this is accurate, unfortunately, that means they're nearly no ways to respect user freedom if you can only sell software. Can someone prove me wrong? Because otherwise this conclusion is kinda depressing.