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Less Love for FOSS Qt Users

From Qt 5.15, The Qt Company make their offering a bit more inconvenient for FOSS users. They announced three changes:

  • A Qt account is mandatory to download binary Qt packages. The offline installer is not available to FOSS users any more.
  • LTS (long-term support) releases are not available to FOSS users, once the next minor or major release is out.
  • Small business pay 499 USD per year, if their yearly revenue is less than 100,000 USD and they have less than five employees.

What do these changes mean for the development of Qt embedded Linux systems under LGPLv3?

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Lessons from Six Years as a Solo Consultant

The beginning of this month marked my sixth anniversary of becoming a solo consultant. I don’t regret my decision and cannot imagine ever giving up solo consulting. I was essential in the implementation of some really interesting projects like infotainment systems for cars and driver terminals for sugar beet and forage harvesters. The income from these projects gives me the financial freedom to enjoy life more than ever before.

I took my anniversary as the cause for reflecting about what I should have done differently. I learned three main lessons.

  • Hourly billing runs against the best interest of your customers. As a solo consultant, you have no interest in becoming more productive. The longer hours you work the higher your income. You can only change this, if you Don’t Bill by the Hour but charge a value-based fee.
  • Charging customers for the value you provide becomes much simpler if you have a strong brand. A strong brand will Make Potential Customers Call You. You don’t have to search for projects any more, but projects will find you.
  • Productised Services are part product and part service. The product part is the same for all customers, whereas the service part is specific to each customer. You maximise your profit by minimising the time you spend on the service part.

I will heed the conclusions drawn from these lessons and implement them step by step. How about you?

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Book Review: “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

My favourite business book of 2018 is It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. The reason why people work crazy hours is not that there is

[…] more work to be done all of a sudden. The problem is that there’s hardly any uninterrupted, dedicated time to do it. People are working more but getting less done. It doesn’t add up – until you account for the majority of time being wasted on things that don’t matter.

The authors call out working crazy hours for not being “a badge of honor” but “a mark of stupidity”. Yes, it’s good to hear this from people who know what they are talking about. Jason is the CEO and David the CTO of Basecamp, which they have been running very successfully since 2003. They describe in the book how – at Basecamp – they replaced crazy at work with calm at work.

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Finding Projects as a Freelance Software Developer

Three years ago aged 45, I started as a freelance software developer in Southern Germany. It were three pretty amazing years. I had paid work for 522.5 days of 750 working days, which amounts to nearly 70% of total working days. My hourly rate was roughly 94 Euros with 8 hours per day. Additionally, I passed on 285 days of work to other developers at a rate of 61 Euros. Despite this success, finding projects still feels a bit like black magic. Sometimes I could have got three projects at the same time. Sometimes I struggled for several months to find the next project. I want to share my experience in finding projects: what worked for me and what didn’t.
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