I wouldn’t say it’s becoming more difficult. Hasn’t it always been equally difficult?
Someone in TFA said that’s how it’s always been, i agree with that.
I wish she looked at the projects (well, maybe he did, but not in the article) from the license perspective. I’m quite sure that GPL licensing (which has been in decline for years now) has played a role in this. The MIT license (and other more flexible open source licenses) makes it easier for those who want to pay (such as companies) devs and benefit proportionately (as in, not share the freaking code for which they paid with their competitors and the rest of the world) without engaging in any complex agreements or legal uncertainties.
Web browsers are end-user apps, but the Firefox people became a reseller for google ads. The last mile delivery of google ads. They chose to be a non-profit but they could have become a VC backed for-profit.
For infra apps the issue is mostly like I said: if I already have to pay, I’d consider whether that benefits my competitors (assuming the user is a company). If I have to donate or spend $1,000 to fix a bug, I may as well buy a $1,000 license for commercial software. Maybe is more expensive in the long run, but sometimes it hurts less to pay money to someone who isn’t competing with me, than to solve problems for competitors.
My last point: it’d be interesting to imagine how the roads would look like and how much they would cost if there was no government to force you to contribute to government infrastructure. Another way to put it: the most obvious way to fix OSS issues is to introduce a tax and put the government in charge of OSS projects. I don’t see how anyone who supports the idea of taxation for public traffic infrastructure can at the same time be against the government’s involvement in public software infrastructure.