'Matt Asay, a former COO of Canonical now working at AWS, writes "Over
the last few weeks I've interviewed a range of open source project
maintainers, most of which don't directly get paid for supporting
their projects... Is this a bad thing?"
It's not completely clear. Linux Foundation executive Chris Aniszczyk
has been an outspoken opponent of open source "tip jars" that seek to
sustain projects with donations. "These [open source developers]
should be encouraged to start businesses or your business should hire
them directly," he argues. But many such developers don't want a
9-to-5 corporate job, preferring the independence of contract work.
Open source sustainability, in other words, is messy. Most open source
project maintainers with whom I've spoken got started because it was a
"fun" way to spend their free time. They had a variety of personal
"itches" they needed to scratch. Exactly none started coding because
they were hoping to get paid for that work.
In fact, in some cases, it was specifically to create space from their
employer that they started the project. For Datasette founder Simon
Willison, for example, he "wanted a creative outlet." That is, a
project that he got to have complete control over. In some ways, he
said, it was perhaps "a way of blowing off steam," but really it was a
place where he could express his creativity without a corporate
overlord steering that creativity. See the problem...?
Aniszczyk reasonably suggests that the most sustainable source of
funding is a paycheck, but that's precisely what many of these
developers don't want. Or, at least, they don't want a paycheck that
comes with restrictions on their ability to code freely... [O]pen
source sustainability will never have one, meta answer for all of open
source. It's always a project-by-project analysis and, really, a
founder-by-founder (or community-by-community) decision. '
-- source: https://news.slashdot.org/story/20/05/31/0138252
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174