A Practical Approach to Open-Source Funding

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2024-06-05 12:00:13

Relying on any piece of software creates a dependency and that’s fine as long as the risk is an educated choice and can be afforded. This risk goes beyond open-source, which might be the first that comes to mind. Organizations for their reasons can, and will, stop supporting software you or your organization rely on and in this case, there is nothing you can do about it. On the other hand, there is something you can do about derisking your dependency on open-source software and that is to support it financially. The latest supply chain attack on xz hopefully made everyone realize how deeply everyone relies on open-source software, while not fully grasping the implications.

After digesting what happened with xz, I thought that if I were running an organization that relies on open-source software, I would allocate a budget to fund it based on how critical the dependency on it would be. I don’t run an organization, but I use open-source software daily and I can’t imagine my workflows without it. I use open-source software for my blog, my keyboard, my editor, my terminal emulator, my window manager, and my status bar. I decided to track what I rely on the most and then think about what funding structure would make me sleep better at night.

I can’t live without Neovim, and its NvChad distribution, period. Then, it would be hard to imagine my day-to-day workflow if I had to change Yabai, my window manager, Jekyll, that I’m using for managing my blog, and Kitty, my terminal emulator. Last, it would be very inconvenient if qmk stopped being maintained, as I’m using it to manage my keyboard’s firmware. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, since even without updating again my keyboard’s firmware, it would still work though.

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