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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! 🙏

Salvatore Sanfilippo antirez.com

Antirez steps down as Redis maintainer

Salvatore Sanfilippo:

So, dear Redis community, today I’m stepping back as the Redis maintainer. My new position will be, on one side, an “ideas” person at Redis Labs, in order to provide inputs for new Redis possibilities: I’ll continue to be part of the Redis Labs advisory board. On the other hand however my hands will be free, and I’ll do something else, that could be writing code or not, who knows, I don’t want to make plans for now. However I’m very skeptical about me not writing more code in the future. It’s just too much fun :D

Thank you, Salvatore, for your many years of work on one of my favorite pieces of software.

Caleb Porzio changelog.com/posts

I just hit $100,000/yr on GitHub Sponsors 🎉

I am now making more money than I’ve ever made while developing open-source software for a community that I adore. Pinch me, I’m dreaming.

Was it luck? there’s certainly been a lot of that.

Was it fate? Let’s leave religion out of this mmkay?…

Was it that the software I built was so incredibly compelling that it forced 535 people to give me at least $14/mo. to keep working on it? …I wish.

It’s more than that though. There were some key things I did along the way to get here. Let me tell you all about them.

Opensource.com Icon Opensource.com

The real impact of canceling PyCon due to COVID-19

An interview with Ewa Jodlowska on how the Python Software Foundation is responding to the cancelation of in-person events.

Turns out ~63% of the PSF’s 2020 revenue was projected to come from PyCon. That’s a massive hit to take. Read the entire interview to learn what they’re doing to diversify, some silver linings that have come from this, and how you can pitch in.

(The tail end of Adam’s conversation with Duane O’Brien focused on the FOSS Responders initiative which was purpose-built to help out orgs like the PSF.)

The Changelog The Changelog #381

The dawn of sponsorware

Caleb Porzio is the creator & maintainer of Livewire, AlpineJS, and more. His latest open source endeavor was announced as “sponsorware”, which means it lived in a private repo (only available to Caleb’s GitHub Sponsors) until he hit a set sponsorship threshold, at which point it was open sourced.

On this episode, we talk through this sponsorware experiment in-depth. We learn how he dreamt it up, how it went (spoiler: very well), and how he had to change his mindset on 2 things in order to make sustainability possible.

Daniel Stenberg daniel.haxx.se

Curl lands its biggest single-shot donation following accidental license breach

Here’s a heartwarming tale of how Backblaze broke libcurl’s copyright, then fixed it, then donated a hefty $15,600 to the project. Why that particular amount?

Backblaze was started in my living room on Jan 15, 2007 (13 years ago tomorrow) and that represents $100/month for every month Backblaze has depended on libcurl back to the beginning. / Brian Wilson, CTO of Backblaze

More like this!

The Changelog The Changelog #371

Re-licensing Sentry

David Cramer joined the show to talk about the recent license change of Sentry to the Business Source License from a BSD 3-clause license. We talk about the details that triggered this change, the specifics of the BSL license and its required parameters, the threat to commercial open source products like Sentry, his concerns for the “open core” model, and what the future of open source might look like in light of protections-oriented source-available licenses like the BSL becoming more common.

The Changelog The Changelog #370

The making of GitHub Sponsors

Devon Zuegel is an Open Source Product Manager at GitHub. She’s also one of the key people responsible for making GitHub Sponsors a thing. We talk with Devon about how she came to GitHub to develop GitHub Sponsors, the months of research she did to learn how to best solve the sustainability problem of open source, why GitHub is now addressing this issue, the various ways and models of addressing maintainers’ financial needs, and Devon also shared what’s in store for the future of GitHub Sponsors.

Devon Zuegel GitHub Blog

GitHub Sponsors is out of beta

Earlier this week GitHub Sponsors came out of beta to general availability for developers with bank accounts in 30 countries (and growing). Also, check out the companion video celebrating some of the developers of GitHub Sponsors. Next steps?

This is just the beginning for native sponsorships on GitHub. We’re working hard to build out great sponsorship experiences around the world.

npm github.com

npm adds `fund` subcommand to help support maintainers

As of npm 6.13, maintainers can add a funding field to their package.json (which works very much like GitHub’s FUNDING.yml) and users can run npm fund to see how they can support their dependency authors.

Darcy Clarke had this to say about the feature on npm’s blog:

Post install you will now see output that describes the number of packages that have defined funding information. You can opt-out of this prompt by using the –no-fund flag if you so choose.

At the end of August, we made a promise to the community to invest time & effort to better support package maintainers. This work is just the first, small step toward creating a means/mechanism for a more sustainable open source development ecosystem.

Tidelift Icon Tidelift

It's the end of Python 2. Are we prepared?

In just a few short months, Python 2 will officially reach the end of its supported life. 💀 This means that anyone building applications in Python will need to have moved to Python 3 if they want to keep getting updates including, importantly, fixes for any security vulnerabilities in the core of Python or in the standard library.

With over 200k Python libraries extant, I have a feeling it’ll be awhile before Python 2 is put out to pasture…

Startups grafana.com

What $24 million means for Grafana's open source community

Grafana Labs has raised a Series A and wrote up on their blog what it all means for the open source world.

With this fund raise, we are committed to investing even more in the open source community. That goes hand-in-hand with pushing forward with our vision of building an open, composable observability platform that brings together the three pillars of observability – logs, metrics, and traces – in a single experience, with Grafana at the center. This will allow users to choose their favorite combinations of observability tooling and bring them all together in one UX – an industry first.

What $24 million means for Grafana's open source community

Mike McQuaid mikemcquaid.com

Getting financial support from your users

Mike McQuaid shared some background on the approaches they’ve taken (and their pros and cons) to make Homebrew financially sustainable.

For predictable donations we set up the standard (at the time at least): a Patreon account. We offered nothing in exchange for donations but to told people we were an entirely volunteer-run project.

… We show users a one-time message on first install or on a Homebrew update to tell them we needed donations and where and how to do so. As soon as this message rolled out we saw a huge jump on donations eventually settling between $2500-$3000 a month on Patreon…

Donald Fischer Opensource.com

The community-led renaissance of open source

Tidelift CEO, Donald Fischer:

Today’s generation of entrepreneurial open source creators is leaving behind the scarcity mindset that bore open core and its brethren. Instead, they’re advancing an optimistic, additive, and still practical model that adds missing commercial value on top of raw open source.

(Tidelift is a frequent sponsor of ours here at Changelog)

Bryan Bogensberger blog.npmjs.org

npm announced plans to launch an open source funding platform

Bryan Bogensberger (CEO of npm) writes on npm blog:

Over the past couple of years, we’ve observed a number of models emerging that enable a path towards sustainability for Open Source maintainers. Most notably: OpenCollective & GitHub Sponsors. We at npm are in full support of both these initiatives, and intend to collaborate further with these organizations.

Now we are ready to invite the community’s most active contributors and the biggest enterprise consumers of public open source code to a working group to finalize the platform’s definition.

Send questions/comments to funding-contributors@npmjs.com, or discuss your thoughts right here.

Kitze Medium

GitHub stars won’t pay your rent

Kitze shared this somewhat controversial story of Sizzy — from struggling open source project to successful product launch and charging money. It’s important to hear more stories like this because not all of the roads of open source are paved with gold.

Honestly, it felt kind of shitty to delete the repository and unpin the project from my profile. I hated the feeling but I had to shrug it off. I had to convince myself that I’m not doing anything wrong. The app was serving a lot of people for 2.5 years, and I rarely got any contributions. It was time to get real and think about what matters.

Oh, here we go… I’m gonna mention the M word and lose a ton of readers at this point. Money. Money matters.

Kitze also made an appearance on JS Party #72: LIVE from React Amsterdam.

Manuel Bieh DEV.to

I will now charge my clients a fee to support open source projects

Manuel Bieh:

As an independent Freelance Developer I was wondering how I can support the Open Source community… so I had this idea: starting with my next project I will ask my clients for an hourly rate that is 1 Euro higher than I originally negotiated or I would usually charge. I will take that money (up to ~160 Euros per month) and support those projects on Open Collective that I’m basing my work upon in my client’s project.

I like the spirit of what Manuel is doing here, but I’d suggest a slightly different tactic: raise your rate by N euros/hr (where N is at least 10) and give that to open source maintainers whose software you use on the client’s behalf. No need to complicate the client relationship with additional line items or things to explain. Besides, you’re probably under charging as is. Most of us are…

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