> I was referring to people putting money into work because they want
> to use the result.
we are living in a capitalistic [here it is, the c-word] world. You
probably find people willing to pay for what they use, but as good
capitalists they want the exclusive rights on it. They don't like the
thought, their competitor could get it for free. So you cannot expect
industry sponsoring of free software to be significant.
I am also skeptical, that sponsored free software can become a vehicle of
advertising (imagine a LaTeX package saying in its announce line:
This package was sponsored by * Inc, http://www.*.com :-)
So what is wrong with academic funding for innovative free software projects?
It is probably easier to get and it helps the future development more than
priority systems changing with the tide.