What is Logseq's business model?

[more info as it develops]

“We haven’t decided on the business model, both the web app and the desktop app will be mostly free, we’ll charge for some advanced features later, storage and bandwidth.” link

Related question: Are there existing businesses based on open-source software that Logseq might want to model itself after? I’m especially interested in ones that have active community contributions via plug-ins, etc.

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I think this is really important! As open-source as everything is and as generous the developers are with their time and skills, they for sure deserve to make a living out of this great tool.

There’s the donations page https://opencollective.com/logseq

But I’m happy to know @tienson mentioned this:


example business models

Obsidian as an example

I personally think the Obsidian Business’ model would work great for Logseq, making advanced tools like easier syncing across devices, and mobile apps paid services.

The difference is Obsidian is not open-source, although it feels like it is.


Sustanability of Logseq

Like anyone else I enjoy a great powerful tool like Logseq for free, but if we want it to grow and last over the years, it needs to be fueled by a solid business model.


However of course there are the core philosophies of open-source which are amazing, and it’s up to the devs to see how they want Logseq to evolve over the years.

Example of Blender.org

As another reference point it’s worth checking out Blender a 3D tool which in my opinion is one of the most successful open source projects.

Blender has been able to finance their work by working together with big companies that sponsor them in exchange for better tools (which are publicly avaialble) it’s amazing!.

Other open-source examples with sustainable business models


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Yes, I agree with this and it sounds like, at least so far, that’s what @tienson is leaning towards.

It makes me nervous when I’m not paying for a tool that I really love. I want it to be around for a long time, for everyone working on it to be well compensated, for there to be a fair exchange of value.

Take my money!! :joy:

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Yeah I hope so, I can see that working for Logseq


Yeah I understand that perspective! That is the mindset of a great user hahaha. However I also see the other side of users that are used to using only free open-source tools (Linux turned me into that mindset), which is nice for the user, but not always great for the devs, or for how long the app will be around.


The open-source community is amazing, but it’s money that keeps amazing tools around for long enough.

I think it’s a matter to find a nice balance between free open-source and monetarily sustainable, and I really hope Logseq can find that sweet spot.

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Me too, I totally agree :slight_smile:

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Thank you very much for the kind words and the examples!

A solid business model is critical to us, we’re still discussing some details, but the initial plan will be
monthly subscriptions with advanced features when the project is stable, which is similar to both Roam and Obsidian.

Some friends told me that it’s hard to build a solid business when you open source all the code :smiley: But as a developer and maker, I do feel the pain when I really love a project (especially for a notes app) but has no way to contribute. Logseq has been used by some users for the last several months, and those people brought new ideas into it just makes me so happy!

We believe that value creation is the foundation for everything including the business, so our focus will be creating world-class tool for thoughts and trying our best to make the development not boring :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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You already sponsored us! And thank you for your love for this project :smile_cat:

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It’s great to hear your awesome mindset about it. I think the Logseq team is more than capable to take this amazing tool to the next level and I can’t wait to see how Logseq keeps growing!

Open source is an amazing thing and Logseq’s philosophy to be transparent and allowing users to contribute to the code is a great. I have faith that Logseq will have a bright future, and I think this great tool is in the hands of extremely smart and a very skilled team.

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Thank you very much!

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I am backing this project with a very small monthly contribution that I hope to bump up soon. I would definitely be willing to pay monthly (annual discounts always appreciated).

I find the Roam Research price point WAY too high for me personally (I don’t think they made a bad decision, I actually think it was a very smart way to target a specific customer group).

I think paid services (possibly with different tiers) that would be appropriate here are things like:

  • “Teams” and team collaboration tools,
  • hosting of a public site where you could trivially share aspects of your knowledge graph at the page or block level,
  • hosting of “Team” public sites
  • ability to send content into the graph via an API which supported “mail to logseq” - note: this is based on a forum discussion initiated by Sarah_Arminta - this would replace/augment what is going on with Lupin (I, too, look at Lupin and think “awesome but don’t quite have the time for that today”).

Until such a time as there is a way to pay for some type of account, I will continue to be a “free tier backer”.

:slight_smile:

Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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Obsidian is not open-source and it is a mistake to think that Logseq can emulate their business model, which is very deliberately and intentionally based on them not being open source.

That’s why I asked for examples of open-source projects that Logseq could emulate. Athens is open-source and apparently free for self-hosting. Logseq that is free for self-hosting and local file use might make sense.

Once you start locking features for paying customers things get trickier in terms of open-source acceptability. Can anyone with expertise comment on how to have a project that is fully open-source (not just the front end; that discussion already happened) and can still be financially sustainable? Is Logseq open to a donation-only model, or is a commercial model a requirement?

Password manager Bitwarden is apparently open source and commercial also, making money off enterprise customers. Is that viable? This really isn’t my area of expertise so I hope we can get some knowledgeable people commenting in this thread.

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I’ve been looking for an app that (a) works in a browser and (b) my students can use for free. The reason it needs to be both of those things is that (a) some of my students don’t have ready access to desktop or laptop computers and (b) I can’t ask my students to pay a subscription fee to use an app (most of my students struggle financially). So far, I’ve been having my students use Notion, which is not ideal (I myself use Obsidian). Anyone know whether Logseq’s browser version will remain free–or, like Notion, be free for students?

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Hey Forrest, I’d always want logseq to be used by more young students because they’re leading the future knowledge world, to answer your question,

Anyone know whether Logseq’s browser version will be free (could it work like Tiddlywiki, for instance, with files synced to Google Drive).

The initial plan is that all the local-only features will be free for personal usages and collaboration between non-profit organizations and teams.

–or, like Notion, be free for students (perhaps in the hope that once students graduate, they’ll be willing to pay for the app?)

Notion is such a great company! We’re willing to do this too, we’ll see how it evolves, thank you for the question.

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There’re several open-source projects that are financially sustainable.
For example:

  1. https://open.sentry.io/, it’s an application monitoring platform that is used by a lot of big companies.
  2. Mongodb and several other databases.

Is Logseq open to a donation-only model, or is a commercial model a requirement?

The donation-only model doesn’t work well since we already have a team, so a commercial model like a monthly or yearly subscription plan might be needed.

Password manager Bitwarden is apparently open source and commercial also, making money off enterprise customers. Is that viable?

Enterprise customers normally need real-time collaboration and a lot of templates, there’re too many competitors there, I don’t think logseq can have a solid real-time collaboration very soon.

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I think this is a great opportunity for experimentation…

Things are always claimed to be impossible… until someone does it!

Just because open source software tends to be a certain way doesnt mean it HAS to be that way.

Everything is arbitrary. We’re all making it up as we go. There are no rules.

I too want Logseq to be a financial success, and will certainly be a paying customer when plans are available.

I like the approach of giving the self-hosted version for free and charging for server-based services and addons - much like the Obsidian model.

I also agree that a donation model isn’t the right approach, nor is a completely free approach.

I know that the right solution will materialize :slight_smile:

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I presently pay Obsidian to be able to publish notes to the web. I would be happy to pay this monthly/annual fee to be able to publish here with my domain connected. This product is neat, really neat I never thought I would consider something else other than Obsidian…yet here I am trying not to be seduced by your product…

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If you can resist the temptation of logseq, that means it is still not that perfect. You could come again in several months and I am sure you will never leave it ╰(´︶`)╯

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@christlurker

The more I play with it the more I discover a joy of using it. earlier this week I thought Obsidian great for creative writing and content, Log for planning and outlining but today that is a bit fuzzy. Looking at the roadmap everything I need seems to be on the plan and more. Yes, I think you may be right on this, in a few months (probably) less I may not be in a dilemma anymore!

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Another player in the PKM space that is both opensource and commercial is Standard Notes https://standardnotes.org/

I think their model is more close to the Open core model. The open source version only provides very basic editor and you pay for advanced extensions. It seems possible to use your own extensions but it wasn’t very straightforward.


I think in a lot of corporations employees can purchase and reimburse productivity tools. So make it easy for those people to purchase offline version / license of Logseq might be good idea. The JetBrains and Obsidian’s model is closer to this. But they need you to have an account to subscribe which only works better with bulk purchase and very hard to do for individuals (also requires lots of paper work). I think license keys or watermarked binary are more friendly for personal purchase and reimbursment.

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I’m interested in how this topic plays out with Logseq. I really appreciate what Logseq is so far and would like to see it continue. For both of those reasons I donated a bit, hoping that would help things proceed in a good way and to indicate that people are indeed willing to pay for something that is free and open source software (FOSS).

Had it been the case that Logseq was not licensed under a FOSS licence, I would never have supported it. And here I’d like to note especially that I use the term “free” in its FOSS (in this case AGPL) context to mean liberty, not cost.

As for business models, since FOSS is about ethical or pragmatic issues in software development and usage, it itself is not a business model. Yet many different business models are built around FOSS so I think there are a number of good possible paths that Logseq might take.

In a former career, I did a fair amount of research into commercial software businesses built around free and open source software. Most of what I looked at (and the businesses I interviewed) was enterprise software and they generally made their money by providing support services and consulting services (sometimes customizations). While that’s still common, things have evolved and I think Logseq has a lot of consumer appeal, which would probably require other sorts of things to make sense in a commercial context.

Ongoing service subscriptions, like for hosting or publishing are appealing options. Selling additional features is another route (someone here mentioned StandardNotes, which does something like that). There could be interesting things to do with other companies. For example, suppose a business or educational institution wanted to incorporate Logseq into its internal processes for employees to use, then perhaps they could pay for some kind of integration functionality (e.g. with MS SharePoint/OneDrive, whatever) or single sign-on service with their other systems. Some companies providing FOSS, release the code a bit later after each initial update as a way of encouraging people to buy a subscription. There are dual licensing models that some companies use, FOSS for certain groups of customers but something else for others… though that kind of thing would require Logseq to use a different licence than the current one.

Obsidian has been mentioned in this discussion thread (they’re doing some of the things mentioned) but their choices don’t make sense with how they provide the software or their stated commitments to users. Err, that’s to say, the commercial services they provide seem like good, valuable ideas, however Obsidian’s software is proprietary, not FOSS. They don’t charge for the software (though they do for commercial use, which might be part of why they keep it proprietary but there are other ways they could work around that). Mostly, they don’t really benefit from keeping the software proprietary. At the same time, they lose any benefits that they could possibly get from making it FOSS (e.g. community help or paying customers, like myself… people that don’t care about FOSS will pay regardless).

That’s to say, the Obsidian business model has some good features to it, which Logseq could probably replicate but making the software proprietary is not one of them. It’s unnecessary and would prevent someone like me from paying for (or using) it.

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