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Simon Willison simonwillison.net

Support open source that you use by paying the maintainers to talk to your team

I love this idea by Simon Willison:

I think I’ve come up with a novel hack for the challenge of getting your company to financially support the open source projects that it uses: reach out to the maintainers and offer them generous speaking fees for remote talks to your engineering team.

It won’t work for every person and situation, but we should add it to our arsenal of ways to return economic value back to the maintainers of our open source infrastructure.

JS Party JS Party #210

What's in your package.json?

Tobie Langel, Open source strategist and Principal at UnlockOpen, joins Chris, Feross, and Amal to discuss recent widespread incidents affecting the JavaScript community (and breaking CI builds) around the globe. Two widely used npm libraries were self-sabotaged by their single maintainer, yet again, highlighting the many gaps in our OSS supply chain security, sustainability and overall practices. We explore all these topics and solution on what our ecosystem needs to be more resilient to these types of attacks in the future.

Daniel Stenberg daniel.haxx.se

Enforcing the pyramid of open source

Daniel Stenberg lays out how he thinks we can view the world of software and open source in light of supply chain security, maintainer sustainability, and the like:

Inside the pyramid there is a hierarchy where things using software are build on top of others, in layers. The higher up you go, the more you stand on the shoulders of open source components below you.

At the very bottom of the pyramid are the foundational components. Operating systems and libraries. The stuff virtually everything runs or depends upon. The components you really don’t want to have serious security vulnerabilities.

Enforcing the pyramid of open source

Kailash Nadh nadh.in

"Open source" is not broken

A rebuttal by Kailash Nadh to the aforelinked post.

large for-profit corporations started their widespread consumption of FOSS, ever since countless “unicorns” raised infinite amounts of funding on valuations built pretty much entirely on FOSS, ever since FOSS got co-opted into corporatisation and capitalisation. And yet, countless maintainers of critical and widely used FOSS struggle to make a living.

Whose fault is this? I do not believe that this is FOSS’ fault as a conceptual framework or a system. If FOSS was broken, the internet as we know it today wouldn’t exist; the countless marvels of technology that we take for granted and techno-economies that thrive on them wouldn’t exist; millions of software developers (like me) who learnt to write code with FOSS and learnt to make a living with that knowledge wouldn’t exist.

Xe christine.website

"Open source" is broken

The post-log4j-zero-day thinkpieces started rolling in over the weekend. I’m happy about that. We need to discuss this stuff. Here’s what Christine Dodrill’s TL;DR:

If you want me to make you useful software, pay me. If you use software made by others in their spare time and find it useful, pay them. This should not be a controversial opinion. This should not be a new thing. This should already be the state of the world and it is amazingly horrible for us to have the people that make the things that make our software work at all starve and beg for donations.

The entire article is worth considering.

Twitter Icon Twitter

Rich Harris joins Vercel to work on Svelte full time

Cool move by Vercel. Rich says:

so happy about what this means for svelte’s future. it’ll be the same independent, pluralistic project as before, but with Vercel’s backing we can get ✨ a m b i t i o u s ✨

Congrats to the Svelte community! We’ll surely dicsuss this move and what all it means when Rich joins us on JS Party in early December.

Avdi Grimm avdi.codes

There’s always money in the banana stand!

Avdi Grimm kicks off a new series of posts (that I’m quite excited about) on the various parts that go into a “banana stand” business by deftly wielding a classic Arrested Development gag and telling the tale of how he got his stand started:

I’m a software developer by trade. I’ve slung code either as an employee or as an independent consultant for over two decades. But around ten years ago, I started selling e-books about programming. At the time it was a way to recoup the time and energy I had sunk into researching conference talks, as well as a way to expand on the topics of those talks.

E-books expanded to screencasts, and then to courses. I found myself with a diversified product income that sometimes rivaled or even exceeded what I could expect from a developer’s salary.

As a result, gaps between gigs haven’t felt like “unemployment” for a long time. Instead, they are opportunities to work on my education business. Recently, a major gig I’d been looking forward to fell through at the last second. Once I worked through the disappointment, I was like: “welp, there’s always money in the banana stand!”

The first component of your banana stand: a mailing list

Nix blog.replit.com

Betting on Nix

Replit is donating $25k to the NixOS Foundation. Here’s why:

Replit has a history of betting on nascent technologies. The first version of Replit used WebAssembly long before WebAssembly found widespread adoption. We’re betting that the Nix project will improve performance across the board, sidestep a whole slew of bugs for our community, and let any Replit user build and publish programming environments.

For a primer convo on Nix, (re)visit our conversation with Domen Kozar on The Changelog.

Zach Leatherman zachleat.com

Who pays for web frameworks?

Zach Leatherman has been considering sustainability models for Eleventy, so he surveyed the field to see what everyone else in the web framework ecosystem are doing. Check out his post for the raw data and his analysis. Here’s where he stands as of today:

I don’t have the answers. I definitely wouldn’t agree that Eleventy has figured out our sustainable monetization strategy but I do really admire the success that Vue has had solving this exact problem. I do know that I have no interest in Trend 2 (raise investment money) but I’ll continue to keep a keen eye on what other indie-framework folks are doing.

The Changelog The Changelog #445

Funds for open source

This week we’re talking with Pia Mancini about the latest updates to the mission of Open Collective. Earlier this year Open Collective announced “Funds for Open Source.” The idea is simple, make it easy for companies to invest in open source, and they will. Also, since recording this episode, Pia and the team at Open Collective along with Gitcoin announced fundoss.org as part of Maintainer Week announcements. And right now, they have a matching fund of $75,000 dollars funding open source that you can support.

Deno deno.com

The Deno team takes funding and starts a company around the project

Ryan Dahl and Bert Belder announcing the Deno Company:

Deno is not a monolithic system, but rather a set of technologies that we believe can be repurposed to a variety of needs. Not every use-case of server-side JavaScript needs to access the file system; our infrastructure makes it possible to compile out unnecessary bindings. This allows us to create custom runtimes for different applications: Electron-style GUIs, Cloudflare Worker-style Serverless Functions, embedded scripting for databases, etc.

In order to vigorously pursue these ideas, we have raised 4.9 million dollars of seed capital… This investment means we will have a staff of full-time expert engineers working to improving Deno. We will ensure that issues are addressed, bugs are fixed, timely releases are made; we will ensure Deno is a platform others can build on with trust.

Deno will remain MIT licensed: no open core. It appears they will commercialize through infrastructure and other offerings. Maybe deploy is the first of these?

Pia Mancini blog.opencollective.com

Open Collective introduces Funds for open source

Pia Mancini:

We are on a mission to make working for an open source project a legitimate alternative to a career working for a for-profit corporation. To achieve our goal, we must remove friction between projects, the communities who support them, and the corporations who depend on their work (and can fund them)

Their entire premise is that companies would invest more in open source if it were easier for them to do so. So, they’re making it easier by introducing “funds”, which companies can set up and then give to one place instead of a dozen (or more) projects separately. And they’ve already gotten the ball rolling:

Over the last year, we’ve been quietly establishing a number of Funds, which have turned into great examples of what happens when you solve the barriers between corporations and open source projects.

I hope it works. Airbnb alerady has a fund. Indeed already has a fund. More to come?

JS Party JS Party #155

The Tailwind beneath my wings

Tailwind CSS creator Adam Wathan joins Jerod, Nick, & Feross for an in-depth discussion of his trending utility-first CSS framework. We cover why everyone complains about CSS, how Tailwind began and how it gained popularity, how developers use with Tailwind and integrate it into their workflows, and how Adam has managed to build a business around the project. Thanks, Bette Midler!

Medium Icon Medium

Death of an open source business model

Joe Morrison:

Until yesterday, I was still clinging to a few shreds of romantic optimism about open source software businesses. Mapbox is the protagonist of a story I’ve told myself and others countless times. It’s a seductive tale about the incredible, counterintuitive concept of the “open core” business model for software companies.

We’ve discussed the challenges with open core on many occasions (this episode of The Changelog on Nextcloud immediately comes to mind), but most of those conversations center around the tension of balancing commercial and open source interests. This Mapbox open core story, on the other hand, has a different villain:

Today, we’re gathered here on the internet to mourn the death of the open core business model. We’re here to tell stories of the before-times, to reminisce about how smart we thought we were. We went against consensus, and we were wrong. Because, open core is dead.

Cloud killed open core.

macOS 336699.org

Growl is being retired

A sad, but unsurprising day:

Growl is being retired after surviving for 17 years. With the announcement of Apple’s new hardware platform, a general shift of developers to Apple’s notification system, and a lack of obvious ways to improve Growl beyond what it is and has been, we’re announcing the retirement of Growl as of today.

Growl is one of the reasons I originally fell in love with the Mac. It belongs in the pantheon of open source projects that don’t merely cease to exist, but are so influential that they change the very platform they are built on.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this amazing project over the years. 💚

Rust blog.servo.org

Servo’s new home

The Servo Project is excited to announce that it has found a new home with the Linux Foundation. Servo was incubated inside Mozilla, and served as the proof that important web components such as CSS and rendering could be implemented in Rust, with all its safety, concurrency and speed. Now it’s time for Servo to leave the nest!

The project’s governance has also changed. It now has a board and a TSC (technical steering committee). They’ve also set up their community/chat on Zulip, which is new to me and looks… interesting.

Opensource.com Icon Opensource.com

Improve open source community sustainability by tracking these two metrics

Kevin Xu:

There are plenty of metrics you can track—stars, forks, pull requests (PRs), merge requests (MRs), contributor counts, etc.—but more data doesn’t necessarily mean clearer insights. I’ve previously shared my skepticism about the value of these surface-level metrics, especially when assessing an open source project’s health and sustainability.

In this article, I propose two second-order metrics to track, measure, and continually optimize to build a strong, self-sustaining open source community

Those two metrics? Breakdowns of code reviewers and leaderboards of different community interactions. (He also explains why. Worth a read.)

Peter Wang anaconda.com

Anaconda's dividend program helps sustain the open source DS/ML community

Anaconda CEO (and Practical AI guest) Peter Wang:

I am excited to announce the Anaconda Dividend Program, which formalizes our commitment to direct a portion of our revenue to open-source projects that help advance innovation in data science. We are launching the program in partnership with NumFOCUS, and will kick off with a seed donation of $10,000, as well as an additional 10% of single-user Commercial Edition subscription revenue through the end of this year. Going forward, we will fund the dividend with at least 1% of our revenue in 2021, with a minimum of $25,000 committed for the year.

We’ve been beating the successful-businesses-that-thrive-in-large-part-due-to-open-source-software-should-set-aside-revenues-to-support-those-projects drum for years now, so it’s exciting to see forward-looking companies like Anaconda step up and do just that. More like this! 🙏

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