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    Am I the only one shocked by the poverty wages paid in open source? I make more a day than that project makes a month and not by a small margin.

    The current open source licenses have failed us completely when middlemen make billions while coders make less than minimum wage.

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      Am I the only one shocked by the poverty wages paid in open source? I make more a day than that project makes a month and not by a small margin.

      Probably because giving away something for free and then holding out your hat afterward in expectation of payment is a shitty business model. It barely works for some musicians, it doesn’t work at all as a faceless github account on the Internet.

      If you want to make money doing what you love to do, you have to create a workable business model around it. And the thing about businesses is that sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Just because you create a thing doesn’t mean you are suddenly entitled to receive a profit from it. The thing you make or do needs to have value to others, you have to prove that value to them, you need a system for delivering that value, and then make it easy for them to pay you for it. There are plenty of companies doing well enough with their own spin on a combination of open source with commercial opportunity. Like any other business, it’s not easy and many fail. But it is possible.

      The current open source licenses have failed us completely

      Incorrect, they work exactly as they were intended to work. The majority of open source software is given away with no expectation of anything tangible in return. Open source software (generally) gets written because someone had an itch to scratch and wanted to share the results or their work with a community. The authors may have many motivations for giving away their code (altruism, recognition, social interaction) but none of them are to make a bunch of money.

      Finally, I have no opinion of the musl project but if they actually want donations, they’re doing a very good job of hiding that fact on their website.

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        Really? He makes only slightly less than half of what I make (and it probably goes a lot further for him), and I consider myself well-compensated by the standards of the amount of work I put in (if not well-compensated by the standards of this industry, where dev wages are hugely inflated).

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          You are not the only one.

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            The current open source licenses have failed us completely

            Some licenses are way more permissive towards freeloading than others.

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              That’s true, but there’s another twist to it, right?

              Giving away the source code freely and then having freeloading (e.g., not pushing changes upstream or sharing source code they link with) services live behind an inscrutable wall (network service, usually) makes catching violations very difficult. At least with a binary you can decompile it and get an idea of what libraries were used–there are no such easy fruit for web applications if even the slightest effort is put into it.

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                Yes, SaaS make violations difficult to catch. However, licensing can make such “dark pattern” too risky or too unpractical to be used at a large scale.

                Unfortunately license adoption needs a critical mass is needed for this to work. If 90% of software stays under very permissive licenses freeloading will not stop.

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              It depends on purchasing power, right?

              There are countries even in continental Europe where a small Patreon campaign can match a lawyer’s salary.

              Also a reason to not donate to larger projects through Patreon is that it’s impossible for the project management to accomodate everyone. People without that much disposable income, who would prefer to pay for specific features, even if they are on the roadmap but not a priority, may choose to keep their money instead.

              Or buy into a more commercial solution to get what they need without the open-source politics.

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                  Please don’t dismiss other people’s work just because you don’t understand what they do. Of course a single lawyer can save a company millions in operating expenses per month, and their profession has been doing it for far longer than we have.

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                      I have seen teams lawyers cost the opposing side tens of millions pretty easily, I have never seen them save money inside a company that wasn’t being sued.

                      There’s a good reason you might not see it. By having proper policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, lawyers can save a company money by understanding the law and ensuring that they don’t get fined or sued. For example, breaking wage and hour laws in New York can be very expensive. One of the fines listed is $50 per employee per day. There are like 65,000 fast food workers alone in NYC. If all of the companies failed to comply, that would total over $3 mil / day in just fines. That’s before all the lawsuits that would probably also show up.

                      Also interesting, if the guys racking up tens of millions lose their case, they might end up paying those tens of millions back to the people they sued because of laws regarding recovery of attorney’s fees, or counter-suits.

                      In short, a zero sum profession, with a high bar to entry and a marvelously developed class consciousness. Good job if you can get it. I only wish developers could develop that sense too, because we add actual value in the trillions.

                      I’m wary any time someone talks about how great software engineering is or developers are. Were the people who wrote the code to do spoofing and layering adding actual value? How about the engineers and developers behind the Clipper chip?

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                        It’s not always a zero sum game, there are (unethical) agencies who make multi million euros a year by sending cease and desist letters for allegedly (and often false) copyright violations. Sadly, it took many years until this practice was prevent by the government in Germany, maybe because about half of the politicians are lawyers themselves.

                        Update: typo

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                          You can bet Goodwill consulted a lawyer before implementing this cost-cutting strategy.

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                        A single lawyer can’t save a company several million in opex a month.

                        Not to take away from your point, but they absolutely can: M&A, restructuring, downsizing, RightSizing™. And so on. I personally know a lawyer whose sole job is to fly around BoA offices around the world shitcanning [redundant] people.

                        I don’t quite understand why the go to example of people trying to explain to me why I should be getting paid less…

                        Because people like free stuff and one obvious way they get free stuff is if you work for free.

                        However if zig is successful, Andrew will likely get hired at a big marketing company like Google or Facebook where he’ll lead a charge to zig all the things with a nice fat salary doubled up with lots of RSU. It’s a bold move, and not for everyone, but using a “open source career” to bootstrap an enterprise retirement is easy enough to do that (while the markets are good) people are doing it on accident.

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                          That’s not my plan. I might consider working at a place like Mozilla but never Google or Facebook. I’m looking into starting my own non-profit company. Do you know how amazing it is to not have a manager?

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                            Can I suggest you start a for-profit company instead and make a nice life for yourself? There’s nothing unethical about charging customers money for the tools you build. It’s worked quite nicely for me and I hate to see fellow OSS enthusiasts scrape by and play down their own value to society.

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                              I appreciate that you’re looking out for my interests, but why not start a non-profit company and make a nice life for myself and others? Non-profits are allowed to charge customers money for tools. There’s nothing stopping me from having a nice salary in a non-profit.

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                                What is the benefit of a non-profit vs a privately owned company that can do what it wants? I suppose I can see why a programming language steward company might be a non profit.

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                                  While @mperham is one of the best examples I know of for turning a profit and contributing to the community (maybe followed by Richard Hipp/sqlite), may I augment his suggestion with that of a Benefit corporation if that suits your priorities better?

                                  It seems to me that the bigger problem for you (vs @mperham) is that almost everybody expects language toolchains to be free at this point (there are some exceptions, but most of those seem like legacy / gigantic enterprise work).

                                  But either way, I hope to see you continue the great work!

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                                Reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies:

                                Free winds and no tyranny for you? Freddie, sailor of the seas. You pay no rent. Free to go where you please. Then go. Go to that landless latitude, and good luck.

                                For if you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest us know, will you? For you’d be the first person in the history of the world.

                                Lancaster Dodd

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                                Not to take away from your point, but they absolutely can: M&A, restructuring, downsizing, RightSizing™. And so on. I personally know a lawyer whose sole job is to fly around BoA offices around the world shitcanning [redundant] people.

                                I said single, any push like that would require a team of at least a dozen. On average, sure, a team of 50 lawyers can for a small investment of 10 million get you a couple of billion in roi.

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                                  I’ve personally seen a single lawyer acting as in-house counsel and compliance officer in a heavily regulated space save the company millions in potential fines, and tens (if not hundreds) of thousands in filing and process fees.

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                          Fantastic. I generally held back from the various V threads because I thought that would be playing into a (probably deliberate) attempt to gin up donations by stirring up controversy, but piggy-backing that controversy to support a worthy project (actually two worthy projects) makes sense. Let’s hope it succeeds!

                          (Disclosure: I’ve been a supporter of Zig for quite a while)

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                            You are right, Musl is criminally underrated. GNU has enough warts both politically and technically that plenty of opportunity is available for competition.

                            Good for you for recognizing Musl. My only issue is that seems like a lot considering you have no job. But if its that important to you, then respect.

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                              When I have a job I donate a thousand a month via patreon and others. I firmly believe in paying for the value I receive.

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                                If there’s anything we’ve learned from the V language Internet drama that has unfolded over the past few days, it’s that open source projects have to do marketing if they want to get financial support.

                                I think this is a very valid claim, and I see similar patterns in huge parts of the software development community as a whole. There is such a larger market out there of people writing software, and the scale of things that people are building is always getting bigger. Critical pieces of open source software are taken for granted by virtue of there being such a rich open source ecosystem to rely on.

                                In order to stand out from the increasingly huge crowd, it takes more than just interesting tech or a novel idea in many cases. In the same way, the huge amount of content out there makes it harder to pick out truly unique and innovative projects from hype and noise.

                                I guess part of this is natural given the size of the software development industry, but they’re certainly new challenges that we have to learn how to face and handle as a community.

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                                  musl is the bomb. Good on ya no matter what the reasons you’re donating to them.

                                  As for the V language stuff, I was reading through that conversation yesterday when it all started popping off here on lobsters at least. I think it’s more likely the developer was just super naive and wasn’t prepared for the level of scrutiny that his project was about to come under. The fact he’s actively making changes and hasn’t jumped ship is a good sign that his intention is in the right place at least, it’s probably been a massive learning opportunity for him, but on the other side of that, there’s been comments and allegations on various sites and in the git repos issues which are super unprofessional and pretty saddening to see.

                                  Has anyone ever thought about creating a funding pool or something along those lines? For instance finding like-minded, inter-dependent projects and pooling funding, marketing for funding, etc… so that together a group of projects can increase their funding income without all expending massive amounts of individual effort around chasing and drumming up potential funders? You know, it might be as simple as creating some kind of abstract “group” like the “Systems Programming Coalition” or something along those lines, where you create a web site describing the individual projects, the people behind the projects and what the contributions go towards, etc… and have someone allocate those funds to the individual projects. Post updates about progress on the projects, Individual projects could still chase funding on their own but a group of projects might get more visibility and funding if they lump in together on the side and make it feel as though people are helping to push more than a single project.

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                                    There are a couple of similar things: https://opencollective.com/, and https://tidelift.com as well as https://sfconservancy.org/ all spring to mind (with varying levels of profiting going on).

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                                    re marketing. Anyone wanting to learn that should occasionally look at Barnacles. It has articles on things like writing copy, getting attention, setting prices, and so on.

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                                      musl libc: a project with no hype but huge impact musl libc is an alternative to GNU libc for Linux, created by Rich Felker, and with a healthy community of high-quality contributors. It’s been around for years, yet making less than V in donations.

                                      musl is super-great, without a doubt.

                                      In other, semi-related news: GOOG wants to add a libc to llvm, apparently for the sake of Fuchsia. It doesn’t sound like the initial scope is intended to match musl or glibc. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if it got there within a few years.

                                      I love to hate on GOOG for abandoning convenient service offerings, but they definitely do some good open source stuff. Andrew’s pledge to support musl (and others’ in-kind pledges) is/are laudable. But it’s good to know that there’s commercial support of open source projects, too.

                                      EDIT: lobsters discussion of the llvm libc here

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                                        It’s not for fuchsia; someone from fuchsia, apparently as an outsider, came in and said ‘that would be useful, can you make an aarch64 port?’

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                                        Wouldn’t there be paid programmers working on musl already? You know as how the majority of linux patches comes from profesionals? In comparison V-lang is not even out yet.