how much does joomla cost

How much does joomla cost?

That might sound like a silly question as we all know that Joomla cost zero pounds, zero dollars, zero euros, zero yen, zero yuan etc. But it is not as simple as that.

Earlier today I twittered

Trying to write new blog post "how much does #joomla cost" not easy. struggling with some of the math.

Joomla does not cost nothing.

Of the many replies only Mathias came close to what I will try to address in this blog post.

"the mathematics of zero are complicated, even skilled mathematicians have trouble with it." - TheLastBookworm
"yup - difficult addition 0 + 0 + time = ?" - ArtisteerThemes
"No need 4 maths!" - Simon Tiplady
"
joomla costs: did you take a look at Ohloh? Might help." - Guido Jansen
"yup - difficult addition 0 + 0 + time = ?" - Hilary Cheyne
"The cost of using #joomla or making it? In case of the latter, check out the COCOMO model." - Mathias Verraes

 

Whilst there is no financial cost to you to download and install joomla there are still financial costs to you.

  1. The cost of learning joomla e.g. training, books, videos, time
  2. The cost of design e.g. templates
  3. The cost of extensions. Joomla by design only includes a limited set of functionality. To extend this functionality may cost you real money
  4. The cost of hosting
  5. The cost of your time building the site
  6. The cost of your time maintaining the site
  7. The cost of support

But these are just direct costs to you when you use Joomla. What about the indirect and hidden costs involved in both creating joomla the code and maintaining joomla the project. Both of these cost someone real hard cash.

So what are some of these costs?

  1. Hosting of the joomla.org web sites.
    Hosting any large high traffic web site costs serious money. Joomla is fortunate that Rochen provide the servers, hosting and bandwidth for the joomla.org web sites at zero cost to joomla but obviously large costs to themselves. Rochen "stepped up to the plate" when we split from Mambo and they provide the main hosting for nothing more than a small text link and they should be applauded for this.

  2. Legal costs
    It is well known that the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) provide legal advice and services relating to licencing and copyright issues "pro bono" but there are also fees for various other legal services such as Trademarks.

  3. Accountancy fees
    I'm sure that everyone will appreciate that accountants don't come cheap and that every organisation needs their professional services especially when it comes to ensuring that government reports are filed on time and in the correct manner.

  4. Travel and expenses
    Joomla is a global project with it's leaders distributed across the 4 corners of the globe. No matter how good Internet communication is in this ever shrinking world there are times when a "face-to-face" meeting/summit/conference is required. (I remember when I organised the first Joomla Developers Summit in London just after the split from Mambo. That was probably the first time there had been more than three of us in the same country never mind the same room and more was achieved in those intense three days). International travel may be getting cheaper but it is still a considerable cost.

  5. Joomla!Days
    Each event receives a set amount towards the cost of running the event. It is not a huge amount but with the ever increasing number of events it soon adds up.

So whilst you may receive joomla free of any costs there are still costs involved and someone has to pay them.

Where does the money come from?

Joomla has four main sources of income

  1. Google-ads

  2. Merchandising e.g. the t-shirts etc. available at http://shop.joomla.org

  3. Books e.g. Commission on Amazon book sales at http://shop.joomla.org and PackT royalties

  4. Donations. [note due to some arcane US tax laws for 501c3 organisations that I do not begin to understand Joomla cannot solicit financial donations although it can accept them]

Is this enough?

This is not an easy question to answer as Open Source Matters Inc. does not publish a budget, unlike the drupal association but a quick look at the published annual financial reports appear to suggest that the project is able to cover it's costs. Of course covering costs is not enough and this has only been achieved by the hard work of the OSM Board.

If joomla is to continue it's astonishing growth over the last few years then it is my belief that it needs more money.

If joomla had more money ...

... then it would be able to provide a larger subsidy/donation etc to Joomla!Day event organisers and this would be reflected in lower ticket prices for Community days. At the recent Joomla!Day in the Netherlands I observed that the majority of attendees were businesses and not simply regular users who use joomla for personal web sites. I suspect that this was down to the cost of the event. This is no criticism of the Dutch organisers, creating such a well organised event costs money and this has to be covered somehow.

If joomla had more money perhaps ...

... it would be able to organise activities to support specialist areas such as UX & UI, Accessibility, Documentation. Sometimes there really is nothing better than being able to lock a group of experts in one room as we can see by the amazing results from the CiviCRM Book Sprint.

If joomla had more money perhaps ...

... it would be able to organise, my personal dream, a Global Joomla Conference.

If joomla had more money perhaps ...

... it would be able to expand on the Google Summer of Code and High School programmes and operate its own education projects. Remember that Open Source Matters and we could be looking to create school projects and teaching materials that by using joomla help educate the students (and teachers) in the values of Open Source software and collaboration.

Next week I will post my "personal idea" to drasticaly increase the funds at joomla's disposal that may in some way help to satisfy some of this. For now I leave you with this thought

"Think not what joomla does for you,
think of what you do for joomla"

The web was meant to be read, not squished.
This isn't the way to test a responsive design.