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Posted (edited)

Hi there

After searching on this community and did not find a similar post, I made this one, perhaps could be also others doubt.

Buying open source modules worth it?

A module needs update on every WHMCS updates 7.7.x to 7.8 (for example), so a module should follow in accordance.

So scenario 1: If we buy a module open source, we pay one time,  and developers will provide all necessary updates free that will be need for this module work stable on every new future WHMCS update?

Considering that open source modules are expensive it is like developers will assume risks of being continuously provide updates, once you already had assume risks paying a great amount without knowing how tomorrow will be.

In what scenario will be a bad business buying an expensive open module sources? 

Modules compatibility regarding PHP upgraded version will be covered by developers providing updates? 

You are welcome to post your best advice, and help a lot in this community.

Developer are also welcome.

PS: we want to learn, so please no comments that can cause WHMCS Staff to close this threat. 👍


Edited by zitu4life

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Posted (edited)
On 8/25/2019 at 6:56 AM, zitu4life said:

Buying open source modules worth it?

Before we start talking about open source, I think it is important to underline that nowadays most of the times open source is used just to get a cheap deal.

I started working on WHMCS 10 years ago. Before I started creating my own modules, I worked for hundreds of Providers mainly on modules created by others. With my extensive experience I had to request an open source version only once but I'm baffled that there are so many people that want the open source mainly for the following reasons:

  • «We don't trust you» - Why are you buying if you are skeptical? 🤔
  • «For security reasons» - Yeah, I'm pretty sure that you can spot a backdoor with your visual skill or find a vulnerability just randomly looking at 20.000+ lines of code
  • «What if you stop providing updates?» - What if I don't? What if the contract you signed states that I'll give you the open source as soon as I stop supporting the module?
  • «We want to add functionalities» - What do you need? Tell me. I'll include it for free in next release. «We prefer to code it by ourselves»
  • «Our corporate policy doesn't allow us to use encoded softwares» - Why are you using WHMCS? Anyway I'm sorry but our corporate policy doesn't allow us to provide software as open source

Based on my experience, most of the times the real reason why people want the open source is that they don't want to pay on a yearly basis. In the same time they still expect support & updates because «Hey, I paid you 5 times the annual fee of your module so I want you to help me for the rest of your life for free!». I want to stress that concept providing some real examples that happened to me:

  • «I need feature Y, Z and W. Give me the open source so that I can add them». Few days later I give him Y, Z and W for free but he still wants the open source and refuses to buy
  • «I need the open source to get some data from your module» I include a Web Service (API) in my module that works exactly like the API of WHMCS but he still wants the open source and refuses to buy
  • «I want the open source because I don't like having encoded software». I say «That's fine, good bye» and he replyes «Could you give me a discount?» 🤨

Maybe other developers are luckier than me but that's my experience. In 10 years of using WHMCS I never had to get the open source of a single file of WHMCS. Hooks and API are more than enough to do everything. I don't get why modules should work differently. I'm not saying that open source is all based on false needs but we must admit that people want it just to save money. That's not the point of open source projects.

On 8/25/2019 at 6:56 AM, zitu4life said:

So scenario 1: If we buy a module open source, we pay one time,  and developers will provide all necessary updates free that will be need for this module work stable on every new future WHMCS update?

On paper the only reason why people buy open source is that they can edit the code (in reality is just to get a cheap deal but let's ignore it for a moment). Say that you buy the open source of a module that is currently on version 1.0. You download it and start to edit the code for weeks till version 1.1 is out. Now you'll need to spend hours or days to perform the upgrade since you're running a fork of 1.0. The process repeats for version 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 ecc. forever. Before you start thinking about relying on open source make sure you're prepared to invest time in this never ending task.

Personally I always prefer to get the encoded versions because I can upgrade the module without worrying too much. I can easily get support and report bugs since I'm not running a fork. I can also request features that hopefully will be added by the developer. On the other hand with open source it's all under my responsibility.

Edited by Kian

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Many Thanks @Kian I was following  some of yours posts, and this were amazing! Certainly it will help me to take the decision.

It is great to has  a skilled developers coming to community to help too, not coming only for modules advertising, like some do...staying closely increase customer trust 😄.  I think your post help a lot and I guess other members too.


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