One of those steps is something more projects could do to raise money. It’s printing stickers and creating shirts emblazoned with the project logo:
People donate because they want you to use their money to power up the project. So get proactive! Print stickers and other merch, cover costs associated with conference talks, and financially support people who make key contributions.
Putting stickers on your laptop is a tradition for developers, they show off what you support,which software and programming languages you use. I wouldn’t mind stickers for Ubuntu, Red Hat, LibreOffice or PostgreSQL on my laptop.
Swag-style t-shirts are also great. When I was tending the FSF (Free Software Foundation) booth at LinuxCon 2016, it was awesome to see people buying t-shirts.
When you need to fund your free/open source projects, consider Open Collective!
$1000 means you’ve basically bought equipment for the space and can name it anything you want, the example is a 3d printer named Printy McPrintface
They want to buy some of this equipment so that people can come in and learn how to create new things and build their own projects and products and prototypes:
Machina X20 3D printer
heavy duty sewing machine
Hackerspaces and makerspaces should be helping each other more often, this is why I’m posting about this new makerspace here.
Crowdfunding isn’t just for funding new hardware, it’s for funding new spaces where people can learn how to build using that new hardware. It would be amazing to see people all over the world learn how to use 3d scanners and printers.
The Prototype fund applications are open for another 60 days. The fund has 1.2 million Euros to invest in free/open source software projects and development work. They are looking to develop prototypes that are open sourced over a period of 6 months. Each project can receive a grant of up to 30,000 Euros. Projects will also gain mentorship. They are looking to fund around 10 projects per round of funding.
The coolest part here is that you will get paid to develop a prototype and that prototype can later on be further be developed by others. Non-profits especially will appreciate this as it will keep their costs low and give them a chance to check out new technology. For example, the open source nature of WordPress is the main reason it is the dominant technology used by non-profits and charities.
Businesses across the world will benefit as well from the Prototype Fund’s works. Very exciting development, looking forward to other governments and nations offering grants for open source development work.
This is similar to bug bounties or other open source bounties where a developer is paid to develop code for particular features or bugs that users really want.
As the start of the their experiment, 18F will be creating a task that needs to be done (either a bug fix or a feature build). Contractors will be able to bid down the price starting from $3,499. Their goal is to show that making the code open source and with a little cash incentive, developers can be attracted to working on government projects. They also want to lower the costs of software development for government. It’s well-known that governments typically over-pay for software that hardly works or that works but only after the initial time and budget estimates are over-shot by 300% or more.
I wish them luck on this experiment and hopefully other governments can take a page from 18F and start releasing more free/open source software into the world and start supporting open source development through bounty programs similar to 18F’s micro-purchasing experiment.
What’s neat about BountySource is that Facebook, IBM, PagerDuty and others are using them to support free/open source development. On their frontpage you can see that IBM has posted a lot of bounties for particular projects that they really want to see done. This gives a developer incentive to work on the priorities that IBM sets. The developers can always choose to work on something else, or they can work on the issue without accepting the bounty reward.
lots of people get paid to work on or with open source software, but an increasing number of them don’t work for software vendors,
This is why it’s important to push for sponsorships and donations and for the 20% time at work. Free software developers are more and more working at companies that don’t view software as a core competency (or at least they don’t view it that way directly).
FOSS does not materialize out of empty space; it is written by people. We love what we do, which is why I’m sitting here, way past midnight on a Saturday evening, writing about it; but we are also real people with kids, cars, mortgages, leaky roofs, sick pets, infirm parents, and all kinds of other perfectly normal worries.
The only way to improve the quality of FOSS is to make it possible for these perfectly normal people to spend time on it. They need time to review patch submissions carefully, to write and run test cases, to respond to and fix bug reports, to code, and most of all, time just to think about the code and what should happen to it.
Two ways of funding FOSS mentioned in the article:
hire FOSS maintainers, with the understanding that some part of their time is focused on the FOSS project and the other part is company time
companies can donate and sponsor FOSS developer teams without hiring the maintainers
Creating a foundation for the project can also help because the foundation’s goal is to handle all fund-raising, which lets developers get back to work on developing using the funds collected by the foundation.