I fully understand this whole situation. This is all part of the "beauty" and "pain" of a capitalist society - not to say it is a bad thing - it just is what it is - the ever cycling catch-22 scenario.
For the developer/technologist, much satisfication is found in the conquering a challenge and delivering an amazing piece of technology that satisfies and delivers to the requests of the user. The downside is the drain and strain it can put on you and the sometimes lack of appreciation for the marvels you have done - the "how hard could it be" or "what could possible go wrong" mindset of the outsider.
For the Requestors, they are also caught in the catch-22 of wanting the best or even just a solution but cannot afford the commercials - so, free is good!
However, "free" has a price. Many of the rigors of a commercial process are not put in place - sometimes because of the lack of knowledge of what should be there and what "gotchas" there could be. Also, there will be a lack of competitive options available and thus the selection is often primarily made on "he who volunteers, gets the job", with know credential checking or availability assessment, etc. The project can also be lacking full definition and we all know how projects grow without sufficient scope definition. Those are some of the "gotchas".
Bottomline - both parties need to consider "the price of free" and accept that "financially free" has "non-financial cost" in its place.
This also happens in commercial situations as well - selecting for "cheaper" (resource, time and money) has trade-offs and often decision makers screw the price down so far and "sacrifice" some funtionality that solutions don't meet desired results, but still think they should get what they want - i.e. "Have their cake and eat it too".
Anyhow, we still like doing things for people, it makes us feel good, we learn stuff, others get benefits for little expense and society takes some a few more steps foward - and when everyone plays together a nicely, it is a beautiful place - when it goes wrong, just shake hands, chalk another one up to experience and move on.
Rich N - Development Manager @ Delta Technology Solutions Ltd - M.O.T.H.E.R. your virtual Sys Admin - Remote Server Health Monitoring - 24 x 7 www.deltatsl.com