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Ned Batchelder nedbatchelder.com

The 'why' and 'how' of corporations and open source

Ned Batchelder: if you want someone to do something, you have to give them a compelling reason to do it, and you have to make it as easy as possible for them to do it. That is, you need to have good answers to Why? and How? Let’s look at the Why and How model as it applies to corporations funding open source. They don’t do it because the answers to Why and How are really bad right now. I interviewed Ned for an upcoming maintainer-focused series of The Changelog. He’s been in the game a long time and has a lot of interesting things to say.

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André Staltz staltz.com

Software below the poverty line

André Staltz collected data from OpenCollective and GitHub so he could get some numbers behind his questions around the sustainability of donations in open source. The results I found were shocking: there were two clearly sustainable open source projects, but the majority (more than 80%) of projects that we usually consider sustainable are actually receiving income below industry standards or even below the poverty threshold. Read his full piece to learn about his collection methodology and read his full analysis of the findings.

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Elixir fullstackradio.com

🎧 Jerod talks Elixir and Phoenix on Full Stack Radio

Adam Wathan was gracious enough to invite me on Full Stack Radio to discuss why and how we built this very platform that I’m using to write and you’re using to read. Most of the show focuses on Elixir itself, with topics ranging from pattern matching and immutability to the pipe operator and deployment. Adam also got me to confess a dirty little secret… I still don’t really know what GenServers are! 😱

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Mozilla Icon Mozilla

Mozilla has published their 2019 Internet Health Report

The report focuses on 5 questions about the internet. Is it safe? How open is it? Who is welcome? Who can succeed? Who controls it? The answer is complicated, and the report doesn’t make any particular conclusions so much as share a series of research & stories about each topic. Includes some fascinating looks at what’s going on in AI, inclusive design, open source, decentralization and more.

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Sophie Alpert Increment

The benefits (and costs) of corporate open source

Sophie Alpert writes on Increment: Releasing and maintaining an open-source project at a corporation takes a lot of work. I saw this firsthand working for four-plus years on React, a popular open-source JavaScript library developed by Facebook. Many companies hope that releasing an open-source project will pay dividends in the form of code contributions from people outside the organization—but I’ve never seen that work in practice. Responding to issues, answering usage questions, carefully planning release schedules: It all takes time. Even code contributions, despite their reputation as the big reward that’s supposed to make corporate open source worthwhile, are rarely the panacea they’re made out to be. If you’re looking to optimize your company’s open source development strategy, read this!

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Stephen Wolfram blog.stephenwolfram.com

Free Wolfram Engine for developers

From Stephen Wolfram himself on his personal blog: Why aren’t you using our technology? It happens far too often. … Sometimes the answer is yes. But too often, there’s an awkward silence, and then they’ll say, “Well, no. Could I?” Here’s the kicker for open source developers… If you’re making a free, open-source system, you can apply for a Free Production License. In the license it says “Open-source projects approved by Wolfram,” which seems like they’re going to maintain a list of approved projects, but Stephan mentioned that they’re still working out the kinks in usage and licensing and they “are committed to providing predictable and straightforward licensing for the long term.”

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Alanna Irving medium.com

Babel’s rise to financial sustainability

Check out this interview from Alanna Irving (Open Source Collective Executive Director) with Henry Zhu sharing the backstory of what went well for Babel to reach financial sustainability. Our ultimate goal was to help the project thrive. My personal goal was to help fund Logan, given he was working on his own time, and I figured that if I ever quit my job I might get funded someday too (which has now happened). I knew we would need some momentum and time for that to be possible, so we decided to make a start. When we first started the Babel Collective, we weren’t even bringing in $1k/month. Slowly we built up to $4k/month, which is when I left my job to focus on Babel. Recently our budget looks a lot bigger thanks to a $100,000 grant from Handshake, which we split out as $10k/month. Once that’s over, the total will be around $20k/month. Also, check out Alanna’s book — Better Work Together

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Yegor Bugayenko yegor256.com

How to write an elegant README for your GitHub repo

Some time ago I wrote a blog post An Open Code Base Is Not Yet an Open Source Project where I suggested a few important qualities of a good open source repository/project. One of them was the well-written README file. Here I will try to give a few hints on how to create a good README file and what mistakes to avoid. A solid README is a must-have for all open source projects. Thankfully, many folks have been taking their READMEs more seriously as of late. If you’re one of ‘em, check out this post and see if there’s anything you can improve.

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Matt Holt caddyserver.com

Caddy 1.0, Caddy 2, and Caddy Enterprise 😱

Some big news coming from Matt Holt and team behind the Caddy web server. Today, I am pleased to make a series of interconnected announcements, which marks a new beginning for the Caddy project and new opportunities for your websites and services: Caddy 1.0 released Reunified licensing Caddy 2 and Caddy Enterprise are now in development Partnership with Ardan Labs Should we get Matt on Go Time soon to talk through the details?

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Mike McQuaid mikemcquaid.com

Stop mentoring first-time contributors

According to Mike McQuaid, the focus of an open source maintainer should be learning to mentor efficiently — where should you be investing your time? If you’re an open source maintainer lucky enough to have a significant number of contributors you need to learn to mentor efficiently. First timer issues are not the right good way to get people involved in your project nor mentoring individual first-time contributors. Instead, do things that help all of them.

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Tidelift Icon Tidelift

Up to 20% of your application dependencies may be unmaintained

We recently added a new feature Tidelift subscribers can use to discover unmaintained dependencies. After taking an early look at the data we’re getting back, it appears that about 10-20% of commonly-in-use OSS packages aren’t actively maintained. Click through for an explainer on how they define “unmaintained” as well as a link to their tool for analyzing your app’s dependencies (email required).

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Nick Sweeting github.com

ArchiveBox — open-source self-hosted web archive

This combined with Pinboard is a nice combo! ArchiveBox takes a list of website URLs you want to archive, and creates a local, static, browsable HTML clone of the content from those websites. … It imports lists of URLs, renders the pages in a headless, authenticated, user-scriptable browser, and then archives the content in multiple redundant common formats (HTML, PDF, PNG, WARC) that will last long after the originals disappear off the internet.

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Twitter Icon Twitter

Square is hiring 4 engineers + a designer to work full-time on Bitcoin Core

After announcing the program in a tweet, Jack Dorsey followed up with some details: This will be Square’s first open source initiative independent of our business objectives. These folks will focus entirely on what’s best for the crypto community and individual economic empowerment, not on Square’s commercial interests. All resulting work will be open and free. Followed by: Square has taken a lot from the open source community to get us here. We haven’t given enough back. This is a small way to give back, and one that’s aligned with our broader interests: a more accessible global financial system for the internet. Whether you’re a devout Bitcoin hodler or an avid nocoiner, you have to admit this a great way (the greatest?) for corporate entities to support the open source community. Full-time salaries. Not focused on commercial interests. Let’s hope it plays out that way! 🙏

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Havoc Pennington Tidelift

Open source has a working-for-free problem

Open source isn’t a charity case. We can’t expect to attract and retain level 10 players into a level 2 opportunity. So why are we treating open source maintainers and contributors like they owe us something and not finding ways to enable them to maximize the rewards they can get for playing the game? Let’s abandon the notion that open source is exclusively charity. In the software industry, we’re normalizing spec work in a way that the design industry successfully rallied against. The narrative around open source is that it’s completely OK—even an expectation—that we’re all doing this for fun and exposure; and that giant companies should get huge publicity credit for throwing peanuts-to-them donations at a small subset of open source projects. There’s nothing wrong with doing stuff for fun and exposure, or making donations, as an option. It becomes a problem when the free work is expected and the donations are seen as enough.

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Amila Welihinda github.com

A checklist of things to consider before releasing your project

There’s lots of good advice here, covering: 🎨 Initial Presentation 💰 Value Proposition 💯 Project Quality 👑 Branding ✈️ Onboarding Methods 🧹 Code Conventions and Infrastructure 📣 Spread the Word 🤑 Funding If you read the Spread the Word section closely you’ll notice Amila is following his own advice. 😉

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Kyle E. Mitchell writing.kemitchell.com

It's time to deprecate MIT and BSD licenses

Kyle E. Mitchell, who is not your attorney, and Executive Director of the recently founded Blue Oak Council, writing on /dev/lawyer has this to say about these “thirty-year-old academic licenses.” MIT and BSD open source licenses are well known, popular, and legally deprecated. They served long and well, but they’re older than many open source software developers, and haven’t been maintained. With licenses like Blue Oak available, it’s time open source upgraded from academic forms of the ’80s. There are good social, practical, and especially legal reasons to do so. Kyle goes on to enumerate all the reasons why the Blue Oak license is a better fit for open source.

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