Tips on building some plugins or small utility apps

HI,
I have seen many people write plugins or some small application on github and people using it. Do they get paid for it ?
Some example i saw were :
1) ckeditor
2) Markdown parser which github uses
3) language parsers
4) Games strategy eg .playing with computer
people have implemented many things some of which may be directly taken from some research work

I guess most of what one thinks is already there.
Just want some idea from experts how to go about getting such ideas where to look at some magazines, sites etc. so that one can pick up a small project by oneself and build something useful for people.

Thanks
Rohit BajajAsked:
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Julian HansenCommented:
GitHub has two methods of operation

Free - for open source projects
Paid for private source hosting.

Anything you publish on GitHub under the free account must be open source.

Many projects have their own website in addition to the GitHub repository.

For instance ckeditor (http://ckeditor.com)

GitHub has this to say on getting paid for your work

https://github.com/blog/57-getting-paid-the-open-source-way

Short answer - most projects are either entirely open source or have a voluntary donation mechanism.

As for ideas - you are only limited by your imagination. Find something that is currently difficult or cumbersome to do and find a better or packaged way of doing it.

If you hang around forums you can get a lot of ideas based on questions posted - if you see the same sort of question being posted on how to do something then that is an opportunity.

The landscape is continually changing so what is on GH currently is by no means covering all bases. As existing technologies evolve and new ones come out there is always the opportunity to write code that others might find useful - whether or not you can earn in any money from the contribution is dependent on a variety of factors. It is not really possible to give a general guideline. Probably closest is how much effort did take to create and to support - the more difficult to replicate the greater the probability you can derive some income from it.

Many open source projects rely on selling support or a complimentary product (think Asterisk + Digium) as the means to deriving revenue - the software is free.

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Rohit BajajAuthor Commented:
You mentioned forums. What type of forums are you suggesting... any examples... ?
Julian HansenCommented:
Experts Exchange is a pretty good example
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