Ten Steps to Successful Open Source Crowdfunding – Open Collective

Open Collective, the KickStarter-like service for funding free/open source projects, has published a practical 10-step guide to crowdfunding open source projects.

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!

Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon

Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon

Check it out, it’s a hackathon for SecureDrop, the software that Aaron Swartz worked on to give whistleblowers a secure method of dropping off files to newspapers on the web. A lot of news organizations have a SecureDrop website that can be accessed through Tor to hide your IP address. Excellent piece of software to hack on.

The hackathon is on Saturday November 5th and Sunday November 6th in San Francisco. Aaron’s 30th birthday would have been next week Tuesday, November 8th.

There are also speakers scheduled after the first day of the hackathon.

Now a bit about Aaron Swartz. He co-authored an early version of RSS and helped launch Creative Commons, and worked on a piece of Python code called web.py (which was one of the web servers Reddit used).

Aaron Swartz’s ideals and all his awesome hackery and coding to support them is something we can all learn from. Instead of simply discussing and debating endlessly, he would at some point sit down and write new tools to build a better future. SecureDrop, Creative Commons, they are all tools in support of the open web, and fundamentally in support of freedom.

SecureDrop is possibly the most important software. It lets journalists receive data from whistleblowers securely. Among the news organizations using SecureDrop are The New Yorker, the Washington Post, VICE Media and the Globe and Mail.

So if you are in San Francisco check out the hackathon. If you are anywhere else in the world, you can still work on SecureDrop, just fire up your favourite text editor and download the code.

LinuxCon North America, 22-24 August 2016, Toronto ON Canada

LinuxCon North America, 22-24 August 2016, Toronto ON Canada

LinuxCon North America is coming up on 22nd August 2016, it’s a huge conference with great keynote speakers such as Jim Whitehurst, the CEO of Red Hat, and Cory Doctorow, author and prolific blogger on open left and open culture. Of course Linus Torvalds will also be there!

The event hashtag on Twitter and pump.io is #linuxcon and the event itself is hosted at the beautiful Westin Harbour Castle hotel in downtown Toronto, Canada.

Schedule and Sessions

Click here to view the schedule.


It’s not too late to register! Students get a discount.

Continue reading “LinuxCon North America, 22-24 August 2016, Toronto ON Canada”

German Free/Open Source Fund

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.

Open Source Micro-Purchasing

Open Source Micro-Purchasing

18F, the U.S. Government’s digital services agency, is trying an experiment in which they use federal dollars to pay for development of their open source projects. Micro-purchases in the government are those purchases which are under $3,500 and can be made using a “purchase card”.

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.

Software Freedom Day – 19 September 2015

This Saturday, 19 Sept 2015, will be Software Freedom Day.

Check out the events map and find out if there’s an event in your area.

If there isn’t get on Freenode IRC, find a good channel like #libreplanet and have a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of beer and toast to freedom.

In Toronto, the LibrePlanet Ontario group is hosting Software Freedom Day at 120 Carlton St, Toronto, ON, Canada. There will be talks on what software freedom is and why it’s important, discussion of the usage of free software in musical performances, a few lightning talks, free/open culture short films, and a good talk on email privacy.

Software Freedom Day in Toronto has a twitter: @SFDToronto