The thing to remember about this new wave of open-source development - the apps, the plug-ins, the add-ons and so on - is that the developers who make great tools rarely get paid for their work.
Today, the Firefox folks have introduced a pilot of a feature called Contributions, a Pay Pal-powered feature that allows developers to put a dollar amount on their work and collect fees from users who are willing to contribute to the cause. The site is also enabling developers to share some information about themselves under a "About the Developer" page to explain their thought process behind the add-on and where they might like to take it next.
In a blog post, the company shares its vision for Contributions:
Since this is the first time we're presenting this opportunity, we're treating this initial launch as a pilot. Our aim with this pilot is to help support a growing ecosystem by providing our users with the opportunity to support their favorite add-on developers. We're asking for feedback from our community to drive the future of this pilot and we look forward to learning as much as we can. We'll be working with PayPal on this pilot to provide a secure and international solution for facilitating payments.
For a long time, developers - many of whom are hobbyists who develop the tools out of some sort of necessity - have been able to ask for donations or contributions via their Web site. But as more of them showcase their work on the actual platform, this is a good way for them to get some recognition - and get paid - for their work.