Revolutionizing Open Source pay
- Lack of funding. There isn’t enough money coming in to compensate maintainers for their labor. Open Source is the backbone of almost every Fortune 500 company, but maintainers see little of that success.
- Disproportionate distribution of funding. If I donate to an Open Source project, I’m generally ignoring the dependencies of that project. We believe this funding paradigm is dysfunctional and unfair.
- Lack of accessibility. If maintainers want funding, they must spend time and energy on self-promotion. If developers want to help the Open Source ecosystem, they need the financial means to do so.
These are huge problems. We wanted a solution that allows us to easily and freely give back to all the maintainers we rely on. More than that, we wanted a solution that would compensate the dependencies of our dependencies -- all the way down the tree.
First and foremost, we built our enterprise portal to allow companies and organizations to fund not only all of the dependencies defined in their manifest files, but all of the dependencies of their dependencies as well. We determine the packages that will receive enterprise funds by looking at all GitHub repositories for that organization. The beauty of this is that each month, when the donation is processed, we look at GitHub for all dependencies at that exact time, meaning enterprise donations are constantly up to date with the dependencies actually used by that organization. Absolutely no maintenance required. In return for donating, an organization's logo is displayed on each and every package's page which received funds, increasing brand awareness and showing maintainers that this organization truly cares.
We also built a package manager wrapper for developers who would like to give back to the Open Source packages they use in their day to day work. The wrapper takes complete dependency tree snapshots when you install Open Source packages. The wrapper will show ads (if you want) while Open Source packages are downloading/installing. Or, conversely, developers can choose to donate monthly. Our package manager wrapper distributes the revenue, either from ads or a donation, across the entire dependency tree of the packages that you installed.
You might think "Ads suck, why ads?" We hate ads as much as you do, but we realized we primarily hate them when they're forced on us, or when they become a requirement to use a product. That's why ads through Flossbank are completely opt-in; never a requirement. We view ads as an accessible way to give back to the Open Source community. If you're someone who wants to give back, now there's a free option, if you so choose.
If you prefer donating, we also distribute your donation to every package installed, not only the top level packages. What’s more, your contribution to the Open Source community reflects your usage each month. Your donation goes to the packages you used the most each month (and to their dependencies).
We’re super excited about this product and think it’s a small step in the right direction.
Want to help us on our mission to fund Open Source?
Get in touch.
You can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new window).