Open-Sourcing Proprietary Software

I’m sure that at least some of us have an app or some other program that is proprietary, that we wish was open-sourced. What I’m wondering, is is there a good way to approach a developer about open-sourcing their code?

The reason I bring this up, is it almost seems a little rude to do something like this. But, it may be a great improvement to quite a lot of software out there in some way, shape, or form.

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I suppose it would depend on whether it makes money. If it’s “freeware”, you might ask them about opening it up, contributing back to the greater open-source landscape and other developers benefitting from their awesome contributions, or how others could contribute to the support burden of the project.

If it’s making them money, I don’t know if I personally would do it. Sustainable opensource is currently a long-shot (at best) and I’m not sure I could sleep at night asking a company who presumably provides a salary for hard-working people to give up that income. Asking them to look into supporting the Linux platform, or providing a web app *ducks* would be better for our community (selfishly) and open up an additional revenue stream.