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Ross Kaffenberger
Ross Kaffenberger

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What are your thoughts on how open source maintainers solicit for financial support?

Discussion (8)

ssimontis profile image
Scott Simontis

I think it's only fair that there is an option to pay people working their butts off, generally on their own time, for their efforts. Open-source can be a really cruel world. People getting pissed off that you won't add insane features on their behalf, expecting instant bug fixes, refusing to read documentation, mocking your's really easy to get discouraged and I've known a number of people who stopped contributing to open source for a combination of the above.

rossta profile image
Ross Kaffenberger Author

Personally I feel if there was a better culture of companies supporting OSS developers for the software they use, this wouldn’t be an issue.

markoshiva profile image
Marko Shiva Pavlovic

I can't agree more about that one. Yes support of the companies that use our OSS software would be nice.
github sposnor is nice thing but it do not bring a lot of money. liberapay or paypal or other options too but as I say many people use software and don't put money into the development.
There are also things like open collective.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Yeah, I feel like both the direct contribution from companies should be the big source of funding.

Most big companies contribute something but it's kind of remarkable how little the % is.

Facebook has contributed $168,770 on Open Collective. Seems like if they're even going to take the time to contribute at all they could be doing an order of magnitude more.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ • Edited on

that's not much indeed, Facebook is one of the biggest company of the world and it's hard to overstate how much they benefit from open source. And their contribution is like the cost of employing one good engineer in a year (outside of the US, else it's not enough).

Imagine you had to meet Facebook's CFO to pitch a contribution to Open Collective that would be 10 times bigger like @ben proposes.

How would he react?

My guess:

You ask me, Facebook's CFO, if the company can do a $1_500_000 contribution to OpenCollective that supports Open Source?
What the fuck is wrong with you guys?
You should have done it like yersterday if you think that it improves either our marketing, or our reliatbility, or our brand, or our ability to attract candidates, or whatever really for less than the margin of error
Heck, you could have made it 100 times more, worst case scenario we would have put 0.0000000001% more ads in the NewsFeed
Now gentlemen, if you excuse me, I have serious work to do now.
One last thing: why are you wasting my time?

khrome83 profile image
Zane Milakovic

I wish it was big companies. But honestly, I look to how Vue is ran as a project. Both from community, funding, welcoming new people. It’s one of the better spited open source communities. And I think that goes a long way to getting funding.

sobolevn profile image
Nikita Sobolev

We try to make wemake-python-styleguide development sustainable.

To put it short: it is hard. However, we have managed to find one monthly contributor.
I personally know like 10s of companies that use it, and our project is an important part of their workflow. But, only one of them contributed.

The hardest part for me is to market this and get in touch with possible supporters.
Last year I have spent more than 80 hours on meetings, calls, emails, and chats with companies that were kind-of interested in donating to open-source. It is just not worth it. I would be more productive writing code, not wasting time.


@ben , maybe we can highlight some community projects that are searching funding via I hope this might help to get some traction!

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄

I'm not sure what the question is.

How to ask for support?

There are various options, I don't know enough to recommend when to use what. other can chime in.

Is it legitimate to ask for financial support?

Of course, nobody is entitled to benefit from free labor. if you think that GitHub stars will pay your rent, you are welcome to maintain the project, it's open source.

Is it necessary?
Not always, but sometimes it's obviously necessary. It's crazy that this in industry that can basically have as much money that it wants is neglecting to support properly the open source infrastructure that makes it possible.