Great question. I am an artist who is learning to program so that I can make my own tools to make making art faster and more efficient. In this case I would be profiting from my art which the software helps me to perform. I'd be selling the art I made with the software, not the software itself. I stand to profit from the art.
This model can keep the software open sourced, while I still take profit off of my own individual art made with the software. My brother just told me of a gig where I could make 3d models for these two games and sell them for use in the game. People have been making thousands of dollars doing this. Profiting from their artwork, where the programming skill of another provided an easy and straightforward way to do such a thing.
I could give you a hammer or I could build you a house. I'd profit if you didn't know how to build a house, but the hammer I could give to you for free. It is a tool. But the work to do something with the tool is another thing.
There is a profit to be gained in giving information on how to do a task, but for some reason there is even more profit to be gained in doing something for someone. Some people just don't have the skills to do it, or the patience, or the money perhaps.
Stanley and Craftsman make their money making tools like hammers for people to build with.
Your model works, but it requires artists to suddenly get the desire and invest the time (which means time they're not making money as artists) to become software developers so they can make better art. This is also ignoring the fact that not all artists have the skills to become software developers to begin with (the right brain/left brain thing).
The artist that really profits though is again, the 2nd guy who gets the "tool" for free, while that tool - the software - cost the first guy, you in this case, a bundle to make: the price of all the artwork you didn't sell while you were learning to code and making shiny new tools. Opportunity costs are very easy to miss when figuring out what something costs you personally - but realizing that they are real and how much they are can make all the difference in the world between being profitable or never managing to make any money and never realizing why.
Of course, you don't have to distribute the tools, and honestly, I can't think of any reason why you would. You need every competitive advantage you can find if you plan on holding your own in a very fierce marketplace. In that case, you may end up coming out nicely ahead of where you would have been otherwise.
Edited by Mouser9169, 12 April 2014 - 07:26 AM.