A solid, brief Q&A with a couple of Redis’ core team members about what’s next for the project now that its BDFL is no more.
GitHub Sponsors is a step forward, but is far from a panacea. I propose “sponsorship pools”, an alternative approach to OSS sustainability.
So, dear Redis community, today I’m stepping back as the Redis maintainer. My new position will be, on one side, an “ideas” person at Redis Labs, in order to provide inputs for new Redis possibilities: I’ll continue to be part of the Redis Labs advisory board. On the other hand however my hands will be free, and I’ll do something else, that could be writing code or not, who knows, I don’t want to make plans for now. However I’m very skeptical about me not writing more code in the future. It’s just too much fun :D
Thank you, Salvatore, for your many years of work on one of my favorite pieces of software.
I am now making more money than I’ve ever made while developing open-source software for a community that I adore. Pinch me, I’m dreaming.
Was it luck? there’s certainly been a lot of that.
Was it fate? Let’s leave religion out of this mmkay?…
Was it that the software I built was so incredibly compelling that it forced 535 people to give me at least $14/mo. to keep working on it? …I wish.
It’s more than that though. There were some key things I did along the way to get here. Let me tell you all about them.
An interview with Ewa Jodlowska on how the Python Software Foundation is responding to the cancelation of in-person events.
Turns out ~63% of the PSF’s 2020 revenue was projected to come from PyCon. That’s a massive hit to take. Read the entire interview to learn what they’re doing to diversify, some silver linings that have come from this, and how you can pitch in.
Caleb Porzio is the creator & maintainer of Livewire, AlpineJS, and more. His latest open source endeavor was announced as “sponsorware”, which means it lived in a private repo (only available to Caleb’s GitHub Sponsors) until he hit a set sponsorship threshold, at which point it was open sourced.
On this episode, we talk through this sponsorware experiment in-depth. We learn how he dreamt it up, how it went (spoiler: very well), and how he had to change his mindset on 2 things in order to make sustainability possible.
Here’s a heartwarming tale of how Backblaze broke libcurl’s copyright, then fixed it, then donated a hefty $15,600 to the project. Why that particular amount?
Backblaze was started in my living room on Jan 15, 2007 (13 years ago tomorrow) and that represents $100/month for every month Backblaze has depended on libcurl back to the beginning. / Brian Wilson, CTO of Backblaze
More like this!
David Cramer joined the show to talk about the recent license change of Sentry to the Business Source License from a BSD 3-clause license. We talk about the details that triggered this change, the specifics of the BSL license and its required parameters, the threat to commercial open source products like Sentry, his concerns for the “open core” model, and what the future of open source might look like in light of protections-oriented source-available licenses like the BSL becoming more common.
Devon Zuegel is an Open Source Product Manager at GitHub. She’s also one of the key people responsible for making GitHub Sponsors a thing. We talk with Devon about how she came to GitHub to develop GitHub Sponsors, the months of research she did to learn how to best solve the sustainability problem of open source, why GitHub is now addressing this issue, the various ways and models of addressing maintainers’ financial needs, and Devon also shared what’s in store for the future of GitHub Sponsors.
Earlier this week GitHub Sponsors came out of beta to general availability for developers with bank accounts in 30 countries (and growing). Also, check out the companion video celebrating some of the developers of GitHub Sponsors. Next steps?
This is just the beginning for native sponsorships on GitHub. We’re working hard to build out great sponsorship experiences around the world.
As of npm 6.13, maintainers can add a funding field to their
package.json (which works very much like GitHub’s
FUNDING.yml) and users can run
npm fund to see how they can support their dependency authors.
Darcy Clarke had this to say about the feature on npm’s blog:
Post install you will now see output that describes the number of packages that have defined funding information. You can opt-out of this prompt by using the –no-fund flag if you so choose.
At the end of August, we made a promise to the community to invest time & effort to better support package maintainers. This work is just the first, small step toward creating a means/mechanism for a more sustainable open source development ecosystem.
In just a few short months, Python 2 will officially reach the end of its supported life. 💀 This means that anyone building applications in Python will need to have moved to Python 3 if they want to keep getting updates including, importantly, fixes for any security vulnerabilities in the core of Python or in the standard library.
With over 200k Python libraries extant, I have a feeling it’ll be awhile before Python 2 is put out to pasture…
Grafana Labs has raised a Series A and wrote up on their blog what it all means for the open source world.
With this fund raise, we are committed to investing even more in the open source community. That goes hand-in-hand with pushing forward with our vision of building an open, composable observability platform that brings together the three pillars of observability – logs, metrics, and traces – in a single experience, with Grafana at the center. This will allow users to choose their favorite combinations of observability tooling and bring them all together in one UX – an industry first.
Mike McQuaid shared some background on the approaches they’ve taken (and their pros and cons) to make Homebrew financially sustainable.
For predictable donations we set up the standard (at the time at least): a Patreon account. We offered nothing in exchange for donations but to told people we were an entirely volunteer-run project.
… We show users a one-time message on first install or on a Homebrew update to tell them we needed donations and where and how to do so. As soon as this message rolled out we saw a huge jump on donations eventually settling between $2500-$3000 a month on Patreon…
Tidelift CEO, Donald Fischer:
Today’s generation of entrepreneurial open source creators is leaving behind the scarcity mindset that bore open core and its brethren. Instead, they’re advancing an optimistic, additive, and still practical model that adds missing commercial value on top of raw open source.
(Tidelift is a frequent sponsor of ours here at Changelog)
Bryan Bogensberger (CEO of npm) writes on npm blog:
Over the past couple of years, we’ve observed a number of models emerging that enable a path towards sustainability for Open Source maintainers. Most notably: OpenCollective & GitHub Sponsors. We at npm are in full support of both these initiatives, and intend to collaborate further with these organizations.
Now we are ready to invite the community’s most active contributors and the biggest enterprise consumers of public open source code to a working group to finalize the platform’s definition.
Send questions/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or discuss your thoughts right here.
Kitze shared this somewhat controversial story of Sizzy — from struggling open source project to successful product launch and charging money. It’s important to hear more stories like this because not all of the roads of open source are paved with gold.
Honestly, it felt kind of shitty to delete the repository and unpin the project from my profile. I hated the feeling but I had to shrug it off. I had to convince myself that I’m not doing anything wrong. The app was serving a lot of people for 2.5 years, and I rarely got any contributions. It was time to get real and think about what matters.
Oh, here we go… I’m gonna mention the M word and lose a ton of readers at this point. Money. Money matters.
Kitze also made an appearance on JS Party #72: LIVE from React Amsterdam.
As an independent Freelance Developer I was wondering how I can support the Open Source community… so I had this idea: starting with my next project I will ask my clients for an hourly rate that is 1 Euro higher than I originally negotiated or I would usually charge. I will take that money (up to ~160 Euros per month) and support those projects on Open Collective that I’m basing my work upon in my client’s project.
I like the spirit of what Manuel is doing here, but I’d suggest a slightly different tactic: raise your rate by N euros/hr (where N is at least 10) and give that to open source maintainers whose software you use on the client’s behalf. No need to complicate the client relationship with additional line items or things to explain. Besides, you’re probably under charging as is. Most of us are…
if you want someone to do something, you have to give them a compelling reason to do it, and you have to make it as easy as possible for them to do it. That is, you need to have good answers to Why? and How?
Let’s look at the Why and How model as it applies to corporations funding open source. They don’t do it because the answers to Why and How are really bad right now.
I interviewed Ned for an upcoming maintainer-focused series of The Changelog. He’s been in the game a long time and has a lot of interesting things to say.
André Staltz collected data from OpenCollective and GitHub so he could get some numbers behind his questions around the sustainability of donations in open source.
The results I found were shocking: there were two clearly sustainable open source projects, but the majority (more than 80%) of projects that we usually consider sustainable are actually receiving income below industry standards or even below the poverty threshold.
Read his full piece to learn about his collection methodology and read his full analysis of the findings.
Nadia Eghbal thinks GitHub Sponsors might be more like Twitch than it is like Patreon.
Twitch streamers and, similarly I think, GitHub open source developers, benefit from an additional set of motivations, which is, “I want to watch and learn from you”. A graphic artist or a blogger who’s funded on Patreon doesn’t quite have that same relationship to their audience. In those cases, I think their output – the artifacts they create – takes center stage.
She also thinks this dynamic might indicate that individual sponsorships will succeed despite enterprises being “where the money’s at”. I don’t know how this all will play out, but I do know it’ll be interesting!
The news about GitHub Sponsor is making the rounds. This post from Owen Williams highlights how GitHub is listening and putting their money where their mouth is, for the good of all of us.
GitHub, it seems, is thriving again. It just showed the fruits of that labor, and what it looks like when a company is participating in the discussion in the open, listening to the developers that know it best.
At an event called GitHub Satellite, the company unveiled the biggest set of new features in memory, all designed to address glaring problems the platform has faced for years. They’re designed to help make GitHub a better place to work, and contribute to the open source community as a whole.
HUGE news coming from GitHub today:
We’re thrilled to announce the beta of GitHub Sponsors, a new way to financially support the developers who build the open source software you use every day. Open source developers build tools for the rest of us. GitHub Sponsors is a new tool to help them succeed, too.
100% of sponsorship money goes to the developers and they’re even matching contributions up to $5k during a developer’s first year! Also, the whole thing is tightly integrated in to GitHub itself:
Open source projects can also express their funding models directly from their repositories. When
.github/FUNDING.ymlis added to a project’s master branch, a new “Sponsor” button will appear at the top of the repository. Clicking the button opens a natively rendered view of the funding models listed in that file.
There’s lots to digest here, but at first glance this looks like an amazing addition to the open source ecosystem. 🎉
Check out this interview from Alanna Irving (Open Source Collective Executive Director) with Henry Zhu sharing the backstory of what went well for Babel to reach financial sustainability.
Our ultimate goal was to help the project thrive. My personal goal was to help fund Logan, given he was working on his own time, and I figured that if I ever quit my job I might get funded someday too (which has now happened). I knew we would need some momentum and time for that to be possible, so we decided to make a start.
When we first started the Babel Collective, we weren’t even bringing in $1k/month. Slowly we built up to $4k/month, which is when I left my job to focus on Babel. Recently our budget looks a lot bigger thanks to a $100,000 grant from Handshake, which we split out as $10k/month. Once that’s over, the total will be around $20k/month.
Also, check out Alanna’s book — Better Work Together