Thank you, I'm glad to hear I was wrong and thank you for the invite. I try to contribute back any changes I make to open source software I use -- I haven't made many changes on my Bug Genie instance, although a few years ago I did privately contribute a security disclosure I found to this project which got quickly patched. 🙂
Regarding the website, maybe it might be effective to borrow some of the user flow of Mantis' home page? There are some nice things about their design:
- It "feels" like an open source project page as opposed to a commercial page.
- A lot of this is also that you appear to get everything in the open source download. TBH, if I'm looking for a free project to do a particular thing and I see 'pricing' link anywhere above the fold, I bail out and go to the next thing on the search results.
- The critical links (Demo, Download, Hosting) are all immediately obvious
- It doesn't feel like they are pushing one of the routes stronger than another.
Compared to Mantis, there's also some things Genie does well with its current design and hopefully can be kept:
- Feature walk-through
- Interesting screenshots
- Mantis stealthily upsells for the mobile version, which seems a bit less honest since people aren't going to realize that until they've already gotten an install going. Meanwhile, if you can find the Get page (I managed to once I found out it was in the footer) Genie is more up-front about this. Although, it seems kind of weird to monetize it at all in 2019 when mobile-compatible software is more or less expected for any project.
Sidenote, there's no screenshots of the source control integration. That feature sounds really neat, so it would be cool to include that somewhere (it's also not hooked up for the official instance).
I'm by no means an expert in open source, but it seems like the projects that get the most adoption provide the full offering out-of-box. Either making a commercial project or an open source project is both good, but mixing commercial components and open-source components together ends up satisfying neither group of users, I think. If you're looking for open source stuff, you want the whole offering and you want to be able to self-host it. Even stuff like autoupdating or installing modules easily, the most popular open source projects like Wordpress offer this as standard.
Although I do think the non-code stuff you provide like optional hosting, training, support is a pretty fair way to monetize. Maybe even things like feature bounties, or sponsorship from QA companies who use TBG and are looking to find new customers? And bespoke/commissioned development for those esoteric company-specific features or custom theme development seems like it could be a good offering.