regarding to this discussion from Sell plugin module made for Virtualmin?:
Unfortunately that never came to pass, and it turned out getting the ability to process payments in a “marketplace” type form is challenging at our small scale. In addition to getting the processor to approve is, there is a lot of tax complexity and lots of legal issues that come with paying people in other states and countries. It’s too much for us to take on.
We certainly encourage people to make software for Virtualmin, both commercial and Open Source! But, there are only a few that I know of. So, it would also likely not be a very big marketplace (but maybe I’m wrong, maybe if we built it, people would come).
So maybe a central marketplace where people can present their modules would be a good start.
For the purchase of modules one could then either be directed to the manufacturer of the module or to another marketplace.
This way you don’t have to deal with the legal stuff, but offers users the added value of getting an overview of all the modules that are available for Virtualmin.
PayPal business accounts take care of all of it for you. Yes, it does cost some fees, but if it’s something you’re really interested in doing, a cost-benefit analysis is all you need to do to see if it’s a solution that would work for you.
That’s why so many online providers use it.
For a marketplace type service, regular PayPal business doesn’t allow accepting payments on behalf of other merchants (Visa, MasterCard and AmEx also have crazy requirements for this kind of business). It is non-trivial, and the PayPal/Braintree folks I talked to were not at all optimistic we’d be able to get approval for it; you have to understand we have effectively zero capital. We don’t have the kind of accounting and legal infrastructure to make the merchant banks happy.
Since we only know of a half dozen third party tools for Virtualmin, and only a few of those are commercial, and none of those lack an existing way to sell their software, I couldn’t see any reasonable path forward on that front. I simply can’t justify it; we’d likely spend tens of thousands of dollars (of time and money) to make it happen, and given what I know about the third-party ecosystem, I wouldn’t expect to ever recoup it. Really, we’d be throwing money away, and we don’t have money to throw away.
A compromise might be to license third-party tools that we resell through our own shop, but that would put a lot more responsibility on us. I think it probably would be best to just make a searchable index of third-party apps that allows people to submit listings with screenshots and such.
A new category perhaps ?
The goal, as participants in this wonderful Control Panel, is to allow and always help the continuous development and adjustments of this most perfect platform on the market. The more I navigate through it, the more I learn.
The goal would be to increase the profitability of revenue through viable products that would not bring problems to manage.
Would this be a subject that could be expanded?
I am developing this, for my own needs, on a different platform to the wordpress/discourse mix … I tried the wordpress/discourse mix, it is not easy to code but using the platform I am using it is doable
If you can compile a list of known third-party plugins that you think would benefit from a “marketplace” whether paid or free, send them to me via a PM and I perhaps I’ll be able to whip up a simple marketplace for Virtualmin. This would be a project managed by me, and/or others (perhaps yourself). If the end result is promising perhaps I can convince @Joe to lend me a sub-domain and link it to the main site.
At this point however, let’s evaluate the potential and put together a game plan. Sounds like it “could” be a good idea and I don’t mind heading it up if after assessing things it still looks good.
In terms of payment processing, I have an idea that might work for that too.
yep, sounds good.
An own marketplace would be awesome…
…but we also can (as alternate solution) think about if cost/usage effect is given to enroll it, or if there are maybe existing ones. Like envato / Themeforest or other ones.
They may agree to add virtualmin as category and anything else is up to the module-manufacturer who need to sign up there as author.
Interest aside, I see visibility as the biggest hurdle. Short of pushing out a notice with VM installs? Traffic here is mainly limited to people looking for specific answers to problems that pop up. Their vists may be years apart.
Next is vetting the plugins. People will hold VM responsible if they get involved. Apple and Google have the lawyers keep themselves out of it when they have a crytpo draining app sold to your through their store. You? Apple example is real. Apple claims they won’t let you download apps through other sources because that is unsafe. Yet, when people downloaded ‘safe apps’ through the Apple store that drained crypto wallets, guess who wasn’t held liable?
None of this should be construed to think I am against something like this. I hold no opinion at this point.
Visibility: I still think that a simple addition to this site - a new category or even a simple sub-category under “Developers” perhaps with some moderation (not too much extra work!) - would be an easy solution. It might be filled up quickly or may remain empty but at least it will solve the visibility issue as the forum software can handle that with bookmarks if anyone is interested.
Vetting: well I guess to a limited extent that can be done by moderation. But as a plugin gets popular (or otherwise) it will get feedback.
I almost don’t even see why or where Virtualmin has to get involved unless there is a licencing issue involved. So payment processing is an unnecessary burden and left up to the individual plugin
providers. Just an opinion.
I really don’t want to derail the thread but what is lacking in WM/VM that would open up this need? Just curious.
Not sure I understood the last post.
Webmin and Virtualmin offer quite a bit already. I’m just wondering what’s missing that a plug in market would fill. What would people actually pay for that is now missing?
Billing is an area we don’t touch, and an area lots of people need. That’s the most common third party thing I know of. WHMCS, HostBill, Blesta, a few others I’m not remembering all have some sort of support for Virtualmin.
More advanced management of specific types of application is an area we plan to spend more time/effort on when we have it to spare, and I think there’s plenty of third party room for, e.g. an application deployment platform for some specific ecosystem (Ruby on Rails, NodeJS, Django, etc.).
You can do all of that stuff with pre/post create scripts and some Server Templates changes; it’s not even all that difficult if you have familiarity with Virtualmin, but I think a lot of people would like it to be easier, and more visible, which is something you’d need a plugin for. I’d certainly encourage folks to build extensions that handle stuff like that. e.g. it’d be possible, not even that much work, to build out something that makes it really easy to deploy a NodeJS app straight out of github, for instance. But, NodeJS is not in our wheelhouse…we’re not experts. We’re probably not the best people to build it.
There are plenty of others. And, there are folks who build platforms that contain Virtualmin. WikiSuite is one. I think that counts, too.
Having a thriving ecosystem would be good for everybody, but it can be hard to make one happen, in a niche like this, where the “headlining act” (that’d be Virtualmin) is Open Source and barely makes enough money to pay one decent developer salary (while needing four people to keep it running and supported). WordPress is an example of an ecosystem that works, by some definition of works…it keeps a lot of developers paid. I’m not sure I want to emulate the nickel-and-dime approach to selling plugins of WordPress, where even basic functionality requires dozens of plugins (or a lot of custom code). But, they make a lot of money, which is not something we can claim, and it’s hard to sell developers on spending time/effort on a platform that even we can’t get paid for.
Maybe start with the billing part. Anyone doing billing shouldn’t expect a total free ride. I’m a network guy that got into servers because I knew a little Linux back when that made you ‘guru’ level. I was never much of a coder though and it looks like you come at it from more of that end. For me, server up and running and what you do after that is up to you.
Pick a billing project, or two, and do killer integration. I’d expect some of them would be willing to work with you. That could be the start of a decent revenue stream.
The user interface isn’t that friendly to people that don’t want the level of control offered. The billing product could guide you into the UI people willing to pay want. As much as I hate all the cutesy icons, that’s what people expect.
This project is interesting but no where near ready for prime time but I think from looking at the VM module you could push and pull packages. The people that forked the project don’t really know.
Hell, I wasn’t saying we were going to do it! I was saying that’s a thing that could be listed in a marketplace or plugin list type thing. We already don’t have enough time to maintain and support the software we’ve already made.
Understood. I just think that’s the one module that would offer an income stream that could help with maintaining everything else. But I’m not going to question the reasons for your choices though. At worst the project I linked to might have enough in it to give someone a start on something.
@ID10T thanks for your reply.No offense, but please don’t break down this thread into an discussion which modules might needed or not. If we would do so, we lost the focus of the initial question.
We will see if - and which - plugins / modules will be the needed ones… give time to figure this out.
The main question is: If and how we can provide a marketplace.
The point is, that having a marketplace wich push an ecosystem of participants, this may (and I think it will!) push WM/VM for both sides. Developers who provide their code, and customers who need special modules.
I would start it as small as @Stegan suggested:
- new Category at the page
- Listing modules there (e.g. with a feedback & rating functionality of users who already buyed it)
- List-Entries are only like a “contact card”… if you like to use (rent/buy) the module, speak with the manufactorer
This way VM-Staff isn’t responsible for payment, tax or law topics.
If VM-Staff pick - from time to time - a good module and check it… and give it a VM-Proofed Sign, this would also be an additional level of trust.
If developer want to have such a sign, he has to pay VM-Staff for checking and signing the module as trusted.
This way all people are happy. VM-Staff got an additional income
Developers can sell their stuff
Users see what modules exist, and can easily found somebody who actively maintain it and give payed support if needed