Speaker: Nadia Eghbal
Think big - how do we do this for many problems, at the same time - which means building a system, which is a lot of prior work.
- You can't use revenue to talk about open source and success.
- Our infrastructure is maintained by volunteers.
- We don't need revenue, but no funding in the system is not good either.
- There is nobody responsible for funding open source, everything is ad hoc, be it crowd funding, bounties, or tipping.
What would be do with money?
- Take more risks with new projects: People have neither time nor the high-risk attitude to put time in open source.
- Example: Joyent hired Ryan Dahl to build out the Node.js prototype (after working on it unpaid for half a year), and they were the only ones who made the offer.
- Invest back into existing projects
- Maintenance is important
How do we get money
- Software devs make projects, users use projects, those generate resources, resources go in part back to developers
- Comparably with the non-profit sector
How do we distribute the money?
Who needs the money?
- ecosystem-level metrics (dependency mapping such as libraries.io)
- project-level metrics (usage, activity, health), per stage
- Incubation: pageviews, downloads, referring sites
- Growth: contributor count, non-author contributors, opened issues and PRs
- Maturity: first time contributors, average response time to PRs, and issues
What do they need money for?
- Incubation: dedicated time to write code
- Growth: Infrastructure costs, code review, design
- Maturity: Dedicated sprints, release management, community management, code review, biz dev
How does the money get dispersed?
- Transparent governance
- Build institutional resilience
- Need for legal entity
- Funding restrictions based on legal entity
- Respects decentralized structure
- Good for one-off work
- No need for legal entity
- Can lead to favouritism
- If funding projects, centralize efforts (foundations for languages or frameworks)
- If funding people, build up opportunities for individual grants (Mozilla-style)
- Open question: How do projects become financially sustainable?
Who should fund them?
- Companies: need commons for cheap resources + protect against competitors, and protect business goals
- Government: oops, ethical questions here, but nominally funder of common good
- Academia: Sustainable, but not too compatible
Today's challenge: getting money back to software producers.