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And I’d like to share a special thanks to the Lobsters community for helping to make sr.ht a success <3

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    Good for you!

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      Thank you :)

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      Somebody needs to solve the mismatch between the value generated by free software and the inability to get paid. Programmers shouldn’t have to take a huge pay cut to work on libre software.

      Having to ask for ‘donation’ is an insult to the dignity of a competent programmer who can otherwise get a very lucrative offer for his/her skills.

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        I honestly think to a large degree this has been solved if we follow the example of SQLite. Rather than trying to reach out all all possibly users of SQLite, trying to get a monthly donation of like $1/$2/$5 from each user, they focus on the corporate users of the software and ask for significant investment for things that corporate users specifically care about and aren’t “donations”:

        • Email Support: $1500 a year.
        • Phone Support: $8000 a year base, for SLA response time goes up to $50,000.
        • Consortium Membership: $85,000+
        • Title/License: $6000
        • AES Custom Version: $2000
        • CEROD Custom Version: $2000
        • ZIPVFS Custom Version: $4000
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          Note that this doesn’t work if the software isn’t going to be used by companies. For instance I have a hard time picturing a company pay for sway or aerc.

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            Absolutely, stuff that is of no use to a corporation is harder to deal with this way. I would argue that at certain levels of corporate dependency, even niche products like text editors and diff tools can get widespread financial backing. I have seen both (text editors and diff tools) get major contributions in terms of cash from corporations.

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          Donations are difficult to justify by companies both legally and in terms of business. They also cannot guarantee any continuity to the recipient. Moreover, donations are inherently unfair to donors VS non-donors.

          Public funding has been invented exactly for this.

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            Moreover, donations are inherently unfair to donors VS non-donors.

            Could you elaborate “fair” a little?

            I cannot settle on a definition of fairness around donations (esp. to develop open source software) that I, myself, would use in this situation, and so I would surely fail at assuming the definition intended in your comment.

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              Forgive me for the platitude: If a company donates a lot and a competitor does not (while still benefiting from the same shared public good), the latter has an advantage. This little prisoner dilemma around donations encourage greed over cooperation. That’s why taxes are mandatory.

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                If a company donates a lot and a competitor does not (while still benefiting from the same shared public good), the latter has an advantage.

                That sounds right but might not be. IBM backed Linux when Microsoft and SCO were going to patent sue everyone trying to use it. IBM both was donating labor to Linux and would counter-sue to keep it open. The result over time was IBM got massive benefit from Linux while proprietary offerings folded or went into legacy mode over time.

                I mean, IBM and Linux are both kind of unique. That success might not extrapolate. It might for companies who can stand to gain a lot from a community around their product. The community might be bigger if the company significantly invests in open source and community activities.

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                I assume the rational is that open source code is a public good in the same way that clean water or science is. If you spend a lot of money making sure that your local river has clean water, or a lot of money to study physics then the benefits are shared by everybody but the costs were incurred by just you.

                “Fairness” in the context of shared resources generally means that the costs of providing the resource are shared by the users of the resource in proportion to the benefit those users each receive.

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                I agree that public funding was meant to solve problems much like this, but that doesn’t make it an easy solution.

                There are thousands of new libraries created every day, which ones will you fund? How much money should you give Pixie Lang?

                The NSF gives grants to researchers who are motivated to publish papers, which journals will only accept if the papers reveal something new and important. If you give money to open source developers do they have any external motivation to produce useful things? What is preventing them from adding a million new features to OpenSSL rather than carefully auditing the code and fixing tricky bugs?

                If ruby is given enough public funding to hire 10 developers, won’t that make the developers who weren’t chosen feel like they’re not as important? Would they continue contributing as much as they have when they know somebody else is getting paid?

                Many open source projects have contributors from many different nations. Is the agency doing public funding okay with giving money to non-nationals?

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                  public funding was meant to solve problems much like this, but that doesn’t make it an easy solution

                  It worked better than other alternatives during the last 100 years to develop phones, early computers, semiconductors, satellites, a lot of medicine, aeronautics, chemistry… Anything that does not have a short or medium-term return.

                  Is the agency doing public funding okay with giving money to non-nationals?

                  A lot of long-term scientific research is funded through global nongovernmental organizations.

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                Not a great comfort to a libertarian, I’m sure - but for those who believe in government intervention, taxpayer-funded work on core infrastructure is an obvious way to share the load (since broadly speaking, society at large benefits from access to improved technology).

                IIRC at least one of the OpenSSL core team was funded - for years - off the German social security pension. RMS’s work at MIT was largely funded through the US government. DARPA paid for a ton of computing infrastructure.

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                  Who is this somebody who needs that?

                  Describing your own desires as someone else’s needs is a cop-out.

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                    I discuss this a lot. It usually breaks the moment I bring in the notion that this somebody should probably be paid, at around, say, 10-20% if what the developers get.

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                    If the software is valuable, you can license it such that you can sell it for money.

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                      This is a pretty often mentioned, but not every FOSS software has a straight forward business model attached. For example, programming languages are far too remote from an actual product for people to actually invest in them on large scale. Yet, they certainly have huge value! If you see the struggle to get a widely used project as MRI funded…

                      Sure, I could get my money by consulting in that programming language and being an expert in it, but there, the incentive is actually again to have other people developing it and just run around using their stuff.

                      Also, not every programmer wants to become a salesperson or build end-user products.

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                        You can also license it freely and sell it for money. There’s no inherent contradiction in “commercial free software”. Indeed, sr.ht seems like it fits this category.

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                          Great example (and congrats again) :)

                          In my experience, most such software is very hard to deploy for yourself (since the primary maintainer has no real reason to work on that aspect and nobody else tends to step up).

                          This is in no way a jab at your fantastic work - merely an observation of how this, like every funding structure, exerts a pull on the project funded.

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                            Congrats? For what? I’m not Drew.

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                              Huh, somehow I got my wires crossed, sorry.

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                          I wonder if that’s true, and if not, why.

                          You’ve done it. And perhaps I have too (although one might tell my own story in different ways). But the people who manage to create functioning open source software from scratch have failed to earn real money from it with such frequency that I wonder whether there’s some blocker. That some personality trait that’s necessary to create that software also blocks generating income from the software.

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                            I absolutely believe this is the case, personality traits that draw people to open source software tend to push them away from the obvious avenues of income. I think they also fear angering their communities if they start to value corporate users over regular users. I think this fear is misguided, if regular users get much a much better product because of that corporate support, I believe they will be very understanding / support (ala sqlite).

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                              That some personality trait that’s necessary to create that software also blocks generating income from the software.

                              I don’t believe this is the case. FOSS comes out of a culture where many people could make their ends meet. Either by being employed by MIT or by having a paid day job.

                              It’s something our community - as a whole - could easily ignore and not build structure around. That’s falling on our feet now. Those structures will take years to build.

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                          First @andrewrk, now you. I’ll admit I’m a bit envious. My open source contributions are meagre at best. I genuinely hope this works out for you!

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                            Thanks!

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                            congratulations @SirCmpwn :D

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                              Thank you!

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                              The best of luck! :)

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                                Thanks!

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                                You’re an inspiration. Can’t wait to see what else you do with sr.ht!

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                                  Thank you!

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                                  recently i had some issue with understanding one of your post so i asked it in the #os-dev channel. i was surprised when you replied for it. you’re inspiration.

                                  all the best!

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                                    I remember you :) thanks for the well wishes!

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                                    Nice - keep on truckin’!

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                                      So I’m currently trying to decide which (if any) CI tools to choose for Arch Linux. We currently have absolutely no auto building except for in a few specialized cases. Do you think your CI would be happy looking out for 15000 packages which each have potentially different versions built?

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                                        Absolutely. I maintain Arch Linux repos with builds.sr.ht myself, we can put our heads together and figure something out. Shoot me an email at sir@cmpwn.com, or hit me up on IRC: ddevault.

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                                        @SirCmpwn Will you be a speaker at FOSDEM? I can’t find your talk if that’s the case.

                                        In any case, see you there hopefully!

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                                          No, just attending! I made plans too late to submit a proposal for anything. I will be volunteering, though!

                                          Hang out in #cmpwn on irc.freenode.net to be there when plans are made for IRL meetups.

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                                            Great question. I looked too (even though I can’t go).

                                            Are all the talks put online?

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                                            @SirCmpwn whaaat? Congratulations! That’s a huge step. Selfishly, thank you for giving us the opportunity to support open source software that isn’t controlled by ‘BIG CORP X’.

                                            Your availability on IRC, blog posts, general updates, and heart to give to the community are refreshing. I believe that you’ll have no problem getting the funding you need to stay afloat; in fact, I think this will help inspire the community for others to do something more.

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                                              Thank you! I hope that’s how it turns out, too.

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                                              Super excited for you!

                                              (and excited for your projects, albeit a little selfishly ;] )

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                                                Thanks! I’m excited for my projects, too ;)

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                                                This is really great, an example for us all. I wish you luck and success.

                                                Brave to take a gamble on negative income. I hope it pays off!

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                                                  Thanks, I hope it does too!

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                                                  Great to hear and good for the rest of us ;). Lightweight user of sr.ht and loving it.

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                                                    I’m glad, please send feeback if you have any!

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                                                    Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing sr.ht improve and grow.

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                                                      Thanks <3

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                                                      Congratulations!

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                                                        Thank you!

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                                                        Congrats and excited for you and the free software community!

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                                                          Thank you!

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                                                          very cool :)

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                                                            Awesome work. Someday I hope to find funding for my open source project. Best of luck to you.

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                                                              Thanks!

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                                                              Good luck, and thank you for this. I know this is actually a big donation you are giving to us all. Seeing the amounts of money you are aiming for makes it clear why not more people are doing this.

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                                                                Let’s go!

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                                                                  Fantastic!

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                                                                    You’re like the next Linus/RMS/ESR, congrats

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                                                                      High praise! I hope Iive up to it, thanks!

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                                                                      Congrats! Always makes me smile to see an awesome project by a Philly dev.

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                                                                        Thanks!