Will Community Plugins stay free after v1.0?

Things I have tried

I checked the Obsidian help and the forum and couldn’t pinpoint anything definitive. I did see the following in the help: “Looking to allow third-party plugins to be developed after v1.0.0”.

What I’m trying to do

As I try to decide on a long term workflow, it would be helpful to better understand the potential for additional costs arising later. For example, if I heavily utilize a certain plugin and it potentially may start charging a price, that is definitely something I will want to keep in mind.

I hope this doesn’t come off negative. I very much appreciate Obsidian and all the plugin developers. I am okay with whatever answer I receive here but would just prefer to be in the know ahead of time, so here I am.

Sorry if this is already described elsewhere. Come to think of it, I am surprised I haven’t read or don’t remember reading anything about this.


I have developed one plugin for Obsidian, and I can only speak for myself. To me it feels hard to charge money from plugins. The community is so much towards plugins being free of charge (which is understandable). Then again, I haven’t explored community plugins widely, so I don’t know if there are some commercial plugins or not. I just know that some plugin developers accept small, optional donations. If I would make my plugin commercial, I’d need to research the market (= how many potentially paying users would there be?) and plan the pricing very well. To me it doesn’t make sense to make a plugin commercial if it brings just 200 € or less to the table. Switching to commercial is a heavy decision IMO.

Making a plugin cost money is just one way making money from it. One could offer additional services on top of a free plugin. Some theoretical examples:

  • Monthly fee for a YouTube channel subscription that offers exclusive tutorials on how to use a plugin. Or a free YouTube channel that just tries to make money from ads - I don’t know how much revenue than can bring.
  • Paid new feature development requests.
  • Advanced features only enabled for paying customers.
  • Paid support, hire the plugin’s author to install the plugin for you and configure it to adapt to your desired workflow.

I think that if a plugin stays in active development, no plugin developer can make a promise that this will be free forever. Correct me if I’m wrong. It would be just unreasonable to make promises about a future no-one can see. What is more important to myself, is that plans to commercialize a plugin should be told fairly in-advance of time.

Another thing is that if a plugin is good already now, why wouldn’t you use it? If it becomes commercial later, you have two options: a) keep using an old, free version; or b) buy a license if it’s affordable. Can one even expect to estimate all future costs? I think it’s sometimes better to go with a solution that feels intuitive and correct for the time being, and react to unpredictable changes later when they happen.


I hope plugins stay free cause that’s the only way I am going to keep using obsidian, authors can still make money from donations or from youtube videos


I wouldn’t really worry about many plugins going commercial (but that’s just my view).

My biggest concern is that when developers make plugins on their free time, they can’t always support the plugins for an extended period of time, i.e. years.

When Obsidian gets new features and deprecates old ones, there can be cases where plugins need to update, too. For example the Live preview feature made some plugins not to work in Obsidian if the feature is turned on. Live preview is a great feature per se and I use it all the time. I just wish plugin developers can keep up with the development of Obsidian, and with users’ needs.


Nobody can answer this question. Each plugin developer can decide to stop developing, changing the license, or ask a fee anytime (including before 1.0).


Thank you for the helpful replies!

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