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Sustainability

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Daniel Oberhaus motherboard.vice.com

The complicated economy of open source software

Daniel Oberhaus, writing for Vice Motherboard: Heartbleed wasn’t an isolated example of developer burnout and lack of funding, but an outgrowth of a systemic disease that had been festering in the open source software community for years. Identifying the symptoms and causes of this disease was the easy part; finding a cure is more difficult. It’s not enough to just throw more money at the open source community, however. Increased funding creates its own problems in terms of how that money is distributed and what the organizations supplying the funding demand in return. If you’re wondering how we got here in open source, this report is an excellent read on the subject.

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JavaScript eslint.org

Funding ESLint’s future

ESLint began as a side project 6 years ago and has grown into the most popular JavaScript linter in the world with over 6.5 million npm downloads every week. In short, we’ve realized that in order for ESLint to continue to grow and evolve, we need to get more organized and set up a way to fund ESLint’s development going forward. Today, we are happy to announce the ESLint Collective on Open Collective. Support ’em if you got ’em

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Brandon Gomez cnbc.com

The current business model of Patreon is not sustainable

Jack Conte, the founder of Patreon, said the following in a report from Brandon Gomez on cnbc.com regarding Patreon’s sustainability as it relates to their recent rapid growth: The reality is Patreon needs to build new businesses and new services and new revenue lines in order to build a sustainable business. This thread from Dan Olson on Twitter is worth reading. It started off with this Tweet: I don’t want to be doom and gloom, but Patreon is about to eat itself. Or, more specifically, the investors who demand geometric growth are about to demand Patreon eat itself. I take particular interest in their revenue which is estimated at $55M versus the $107M of venture capital raised and how that relates to sustainability and the choices founders make on their journey to succeed and/or survive.

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Duane O'Brien fosdem.org

Sustaining FOSS projects by democratizing the sponsorship process

I wish I was there to see Duane O’Brien talk through this in person. This talk at FOSDEM examines how he got executive buy in at Indeed for their internal FOSS Sustainability Fund, how the fund was set up, how they encouraged participation, and what the impact has been so far. Within a given company, there are typically only a few people involved in deciding which FOSS projects and initiatives to support financially. This year we [at Indeed] changed all that and democratize the decision making process. We set up an internal FOSS Sustainability Fund, and invited everyone to participate in the process.

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Eric Berry blog.codefund.app

Introducing CodeFund Jobs

You may remember Eric Berry from Founders Talk #56 where he and Adam went deep on his mission to fund open source through ethical advertising. What makes CodeFund Jobs unique from other developer-focused job boards? It integrates with CodeFund’s ad platform to help reach both active and passive job seekers. Whether you’re on the hunt (or not), we’d love you to check out what Eric is up to. 💯

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Adam Stacoviak changelog.com/posts

The founders of Octobox are "walking a tightrope" as they move towards sustainability

Building an open source business is hard. Octobox co-founders Andrew Nesbitt and Benjamin Nickolls know this all too well. They’re walking a preverbal “tightrope” with the introduction of new pricing in order to move towards sustainability. By all accounts, Octobox is a success. It’s a thriving open source project that’s being adopted by the software community using GitHub. It has a growing community of maintainers and contributors. Organizations like Shopify run company-wide instances for their own use. Octobox is also run as a SaaS that hosts more than 11k users. But there’s one tiny little problem…Octobox is not sustainable (yet).

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Away from Keyboard Away from Keyboard #11

Adam Clark wants to be independently wealthy

Adam Clark and I met back in 2013. We started a podcasting company together (which we both left), he shut down his consulting business to move to California and work for Apple, and now he’s back in Tennessee. Last year he launched a new business, Podcast Royale, a company he says will afford him more freedom to do whatever he wants to do. He talks to me about growing up in a cult, losing his father, marriage, and how being a parent gives him a purpose in life.

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BAT basicattentiontoken.org

Brave's new BAT tipping banner for creators

Good news! The new Brave tipping banner is now available with the latest desktop browser update. This new banner makes the experience of tipping your favorite Brave-verified publishers and creators easy and on brand. Even better, it never bugs your audience and is only shown when they want to initiate a BAT tip. If you podcast, blog, vlog, write tutorials, give talks, etc. then you should setup Brave Payments on your site and let your audience tip you with their attention! We’re doing it.

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Away from Keyboard Away from Keyboard #10

Maria Boland Ploessl found her home in technology

In our last episode of the year, I talk with Maria Boland Ploessl. Maria’s path to technology has been interesting to say the least. A Saint Paul native, she studied Spanish and Latin American studies in college. In 2016, after living in a few different cities (even a year-long stint in Brazil), she moved back to Minnesota. Now, she’s the Executive Director of Minnestar, a non-profit organization with the aim of supporting and growing Minnesota’s tech community. Maria talks to me about what Minnestar does, the work they’re doing to bring more people of underrepresented groups into tech, married life and how she’s grown from it, and parenthood.

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Adam Jacob Medium

We need sustainable free and open source communities

Adam Jacob (co-founder and creator of Chef) tldr’d his ideas to create sustainable free and open source communities by saying, “we should stop focusing on how to protect the revenue models of open source companies, and instead focus on how to create sustainable communities.” He says this will lead to better software, and that it’s also better for business. In addition to this post, Adam also wrote a short book. When I say “Sustainable Open Source Community”, I mean the following: A unified body of individuals, scattered throughout a larger society, who work in support of the creation, evolution, use, and extension of free and open source software; while ensuring its longevity through meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the community of the future to meet its own needs.

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.NET github.com

It is expected that all developers become a Patron to use Fody

Here’s an interesting twist on open source funding: require all users to back the project on Open Collective, but only enforce that rule via social pressure. In other words, use an honesty policy: It is an honesty system with no code or legal enforcement. When raising an issue or a pull request, the user may be checked to ensure they are a patron, and that issue/PR may be closed without further examination. If a individual or organization has no interest in the long term sustainability of Fody, then they are legally free to ignore the honesty system. The software is MIT-licensed, so all of those liberal rules apply, but don’t expect to get your PR merged or your issue taken seriously unless you’re a patron. You must be a Patron to be a user of Fody. Contributing Pull Requests does not cancel this out. It may seem unfair to expect people both contribute PRs and also financially back this project. However it is important to remember the effort in reviewing and merging a PR is often similar to that of creating the PR. Also the project maintainers are committing to support that added code (feature or bug fix) for the life of the project. The project currently has 4 organizations and 10 individuals supporting it. What do you think those numbers will look like in 6 months or a year?

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Medium Icon Medium

Crowdsourcing the evolution of text parsing with unified

unified –for the uninitiated– is an interface for processing text with syntax trees and transforming between them. Maybe you’ve never heard of it, but you’ve probably relied on it as part of your software infrastructure: [unified] has been OSS for years, but has recently gotten more traction. It’s used in fancy technology such as MDX, Gatsby, and Prettier, and used to build things like Node’s docs, freeCodeCamp, and GitHub’s open source guide. Project’s like unified are crucial to the JavaScript ecosystem, but they’re difficult to fund and support toward sustainability. Hence, the unified collective. Today, we are pleased to announce the creation of the unified collective. It’s an effort to bring together like-minded organisations to collaboratively work on the innovation of content through seamless, interchangeable, and extendible tooling. We build parsers, transformers, and utilities so that others don’t have to worry about syntax. We make it easier for developers to develop. Let’s show these maintainers some 💚 and share this around to those who should be supporting it.

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Away from Keyboard Away from Keyboard #9

Jeremy Fuksa is a unicorn

Jeremy Fuksa has had a rough few years. After deciding to go out on his own, his third year in business was filled with anxiety. Going back to working a full-time job may sound like a failure to some, but Jeremy doesn’t look at it that way. He talks to me about his unique skill set, dealing with anxiety and depression, and how his recent experience has taught him some great lessons.

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The Changelog The Changelog #326

The insider perspective on the event-stream compromise

Adam and Jerod talk with Dominic Tarr, creator of event-stream, the IO library that made recent news as the latest malicious package in the npm registry. event-stream was turned malware, designed to target a very specific development environment and harvest account details and private keys from Bitcoin accounts. They talk through Dominic’s backstory as a prolific contributor to open source, his stance on this package, his work in open source, the sequence of events around the hack, how we can and should handle maintainer-ship of open source infrastructure over the full life-cycle of the code’s usefulness, and what some best practices are for moving forward from this kind of attack.

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Twitter Icon Twitter

"Corporate purchasing and policies make funding open source literally impossible"

This is an epic open source funding thread by @SwiftOnSecurity: Corporate purchasing and policies make funding open source Literally Impossible. Nothing’s going to change until you make them pay you.Someone filed a bug?Support contract.Someone wants a feature?Support contract.It’s literally easier to pay you $1500/yr than $25 once. Followed by: I want to donate $150 to this open source project.“Do I look like a communist? Is that what you think of me?”We need a $1.5k support contract rather than pay an on-staff developer $180k.“Okay submit their IRS W-9 and Point Of Contact for vendor management to reach out to.” That’s just the beginning. Lots to ponder if you have corporate users and you’re currently using donations as your primary source of funding.

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TechCrunch Icon TechCrunch

VMware acquires Heptio

Heptio is the startup founded by 2 of the co-founders of Kubernetes. We had been working on getting some time planned with the CEO Craig McLucki and CTO Joe Beda, but both were “unavailable” to speak. This acquisition might be one of the reasons why. From Ingrid Lunden’s coverage on TechCrunch: VMware acquires Heptio — a startup out of Seattle that was co-founded by Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie (two of the three people who co-created Kubernetes back at Google in 2014) Beda and McLuckie and their team will all be joining VMware in the transaction. More details can be found on the Heptio blog announcement. As for the terms of the deal, they “are not being disclosed.” For reference, when Heptio last raised money ($25M Series B in 2017) it was valued at $117M post-money. So, I’m estimating this deal to be in the $300M-$500M range. To Craig and Joe — first, congrats. Second, we’re still interested in talking with you. Maybe now is a better time and the details you couldn’t share before can now be more freely shared. This is an open invite, to you both! Congrats also to the team at Heptio for all the hard at work you’re doing to advance Kubernetes and cloud orchestration! What a ride the past few weeks for commercial open source in this recent wave of acquisitions.

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Business Insider Icon Business Insider

IBM is acquiring Red Hat for $34 Billion

That’s a lot of Billions attached to a company built on the back of open source Linux. To give a quick reminder, we JUST DID A SHOW with special guest Joseph Jacks titled “Venture capital meets commercial OSS” and, of course, Red Hat was mentioned several times. They’re also on the $100M+ revenue commercial open source software company index we talked about. We’ll dig into this and keep you updated on this breaking news that’s just days off the heels of Microsoft’s official acquisition announcement of GitHub. Needless to say, this has been a BIG WEEK for commercial open source software companies.

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The Changelog The Changelog #320

Venture capital meets commercial OSS

Joseph Jacks, the Founder and General Partner of OSS Capital joined the show to share his plans for funding the future generation of commercial open source software based companies. This is a growing landscape of $100M+ revenue companies ~13 years in the making that’s just now getting serious early attention and institutional backing — and we talk through many of those details with Joseph. We cover the whys and hows, why OSS now, deep details around licensing implications, and we speculate the types of open source software that makes sense for the types of investing Joseph and other plan to do.

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Away from Keyboard Away from Keyboard #8

Eryn O'Neil isn't afraid to speak her mind

Eryn O’Neil grew up in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago. When it came time for college, it was easy for her to move a few states over and go to college in a small town in Iowa. She now lives in Minneapolis, and after years of being self-employed, she just finished a months-long journey to find her next job. Eryn talks to me about being the first female engineering manager at her new company, what excites her about technology, the hurdles of married life, and staying healthy in a demanding industry.

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The Changelog The Changelog #318

A call for kindness in open source

Adam and Jerod talk to Brett Cannon, core contributor to Python and a fantastic representative of the Python community. They talked through various details surrounding a talk and blog post he wrote titled “Setting expectations for open source participation” and covered questions like: What is the the purpose of open source? How do you sustain open source? And what’s the goal? They even talked through typical scenarios in open source and how kindness and recognizing that there’s a human on the other end of every action can really go a long way.

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Brenna Heaps Tidelift

How should you use funding for your open source project?

I think the consensus agrees that sustaining open source software takes more than just money. And yet money often remains a crucial part of a larger need for open source to sustain AND thrive. So, if that’s the case…how should you use funding for your open source project? Brenna Heaps writes on the Tidelift blog: We’ve been speaking with a lot of open source maintainers about how to get paid and what that might mean for their project, and the same question keeps popping up: What do I do with the money? The tldr? Fund the project, community engagement, and pay it forward… But, it’s a short read and worth it — so go read this and then share it with your fellow maintainers.

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Joseph Jacks docs.google.com

The $100M+ revenue commercial open source software company index

Have you seen this spreadsheet of open source software companies from Joseph Jacks? The criteria to be added to the sheet is; the company generates $100M+ revenue (recurring or not) OR generate the equivalent of $25M of revenue per quarter. These companies have found a way to build a very large business around one or many open source software projects. Anyone on this index surprise you?

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