If contributors are unable to sell their code, how can they make a living? The solution isn’t to sweep this under the rug by assuming contributors will have other sources of income—that’ll only produce a contributor ecosystem that amplifies the demographic biases of the wider economy. A more compelling vision, grounded in a materialist analysis of the conditions of production, would be a world where no one needs to get paid for these contributions because their material needs are taken care of through other means.
Now, this isn’t exactly a small project—it would require a complete reimagining of the relations of production. The only way to set information “free” is to restructure the economy such that information production can be free, with contributors no longer needing to get paid for their work because crucial goods like housing, transport and food are available as free public services. In other words, truly decommodifying information will require decommodifying the things we need to survive in order to produce that information.
From an article about how we could move to an all-FOSS tech ecosystem. Of course, the same is true for how can we have people making other kinds of contributions to society that people don’t pay you for, like creative and care work.