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Many open source projects are terribly under-resourced and under-funded. Some open source developers even have to sacrifice their financial security to work on their passion. Some open source projects dream about going from a passionate hobby to a small but sustainable company. This post will look at the different ways these projects can be funded to enable small groups to sustain themselves by working on projects they care about full time. Financial sacrifice to work on an open source product many people use and enjoy should not be required. In order to build and grow great open source alternatives to proprietary software such as Firefox is to Chrome, we do need more people to be able to commit to open source full time. Why should open source projects need funding at all? Business models aligned with something people are willing to pay for Hosted, plug and play solution as a SaaS Premium version with additional features and expanded functionality Training, support or consulting services from the project’s maintainers Crowdfunding, voluntary donations and sponsorship Find what works best for your situation and your project Why should open source projects need funding at all? Making open source sustainable is something we’ve spent a long time thinking about for Plausible Analytics. We’re building a free and open source web analytics alternative to Google Analytics. We have a free as in beer self-hosted solution and we have a cloud solution that is the exact same software with the difference being that we run and manage it for you in exchange for a subscription fee. We’re focusing on this full time with no salary at the moment in order to grow it and make it a self-sustainable project that could pay our rent and our bills. We’re fully bootstrapped with no external funding too. And we’d like to succeed in this and have even more people succeed working on open source projects that make the web a better, more user friendly and more ethical place. Some open source developers don’t want and don’t need funding. That’s ok. Many open source projects are funded by big corporations so some developers work on them as part of their job. Some may love their full time role and prefer to contribute to open source in their spare time out of passion. For some it is a creative outlet. Some are in a good financial situation and do it because they want to work on something with less responsibility, less stress and more control. Some contribute to open source software to improve their skills or build a reputation that may land them a better or bigger role. All that is fine and it’s amazing to see so many brilliant and passionate people working on such great causes without needing to worry about their finances. But we cannot neglect the other side of this. Some people cannot afford to do unpaid work on open source projects no matter how passionate they are about it. There are also some “starving artists” working on big open source projects with little resources and a lot of untapped potential. In general, more resources going into open source projects will mean that more people will be able to spend more quality time focused on those projects which would make those products better and more useful to more people. » Read More
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