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101188980 story Open Source The Almighty Buck

How Should Open Source Development Be Subsidized? (techcrunch.com) 138

Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday June 23, 2018 @11:34PM from the free-as-in-labor dept. "Open source maintainers are exhausted and rarely paid," writes TechCrunch's editorial manager. "A new generation wants to change the economics."

An anonymous reader quotes their report: [Patreon] is increasingly being used by notable open source contributors as a way to connect with fans and sustain their work... For those who hit it big, the revenues can be outsized. Evan You, who created the popular JavaScript frontend library Vue.js, has reached $15,206 in monthly earnings ($182,472 a year) from 231 patrons... While Patreon is one direct approach for generating revenues from users, another one is to offer dual licenses, one free and one commercial... Companies care about proper licensing, and that becomes the leverage to gain revenue while still maintaining the openness and spirit of open source software...

Tidelift is designed to offer assurances "around areas like security, licensing, and maintenance of software," CEO Donald Fischer explained... In addition, Tidelift handles the mundane tasks of setting up open source for commercialization such as handling licensing issues... Open Collective wants to open source the monetization of open source itself. Open Collective is a non-profit platform that provides tools to "collectives" to receive money while also offering mechanisms to allow the members of those collectives to spend their money in a democratic and transparent way.
TechCrunch warns that "It's not just that people are free riding, it's often that they don't even realize it. Software engineers can easily forget just how much craftsmanship has gone into the open source code that powers the most basic of applications...

"If you work at a for-profit company, take the lead in finding a way to support the code that allows you to do your job so efficiently. The decentralization and volunteer spirit of the open source community needs exactly the same kind of decentralized spirit in every financial contributor. Sustainability is each of our jobs, every day."

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