The Web 2.0 dream is to be able to give something away while still making a living on it. That may work for Cory Doctorow, but for most of us, it’s untenable. The only mechanism I’ve seen for paying open source peeps for consumer-grade projects is donations. Paypal and Amazon both provide an ability to donate to a project, as does Pledgie, but I haven’t seen anything that makes donating easy.
Then I found Flattr. It allows donors to give micropayment-style donations to anyone with a web page (and a Flattr account). It makes life easier for donors because they choose how much they will give a month, and that amount is divided amongst their donees.
It isn’t perfect. The Flattr community is pretty sparse, and there’s no way to set a recurring Flattr, but they’re 90% of the way there. It’d be great if Canonical, vim, Parcellite, Google Chrome, kdenlive, and Guake accepted Flattrs.
If you’re looking for an invitation, hit me up with the contact form and I’ll hook you up.