I pay $1 every hour I spend working on open-source

Sasha Koss on December 06, 2018

Open source saves a shit ton of money for modern companies. It's used on every level starting with software that powers infrastructure and ending... [Read Full]
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This is a hard problem to solve.

When I was creating mobile games, the biggest hurdle we had was getting a user to cross that barrier of free to one cent. Once they were a pay user, it was much much easier to convince them to pay more. But to convince them to open their wallet even for a penny was next to impossible.

I see a similar mentality with mobile apps. $1.99 for a mobile app? It better be the best god damn app of my life. Of course I'll just throw out a few bucks to someone on the street with their hand out without even thinking about it.

When I was younger I would drop TONS of dollars in an arcade. And now that I can buy a game for $1.99 I balk. And when you buy it, you buy it once and can put 100's of hours into it. You can't do that with an arcade. But still... wish it was just $0.99.

It's the same with open source. We're not used to "buying" open source. There are too many barriers to move from a $0.00 user to a $0.01 user. None of our peers are doing it. I have 1000's of node_modules in my folder, which ones should I contribute to? How do I convince my boss? That's not gonna happen.

There are too many projects and I would have to contribute to each one individually. Each using their own preferred method of payment.

Those barriers are far too great. But that doesn't mean they cannot be solved.

I see an opportunity for something like the Basic Attention Token in the Brave Browser. Something that you could contribute a monthly allowance into and could automatically distribute funds to content creators you use the most.

I see an opportunity for an Open Source fund that people contribute to. This fund could then distribute money to worthy open source projects.

The problem is real, but shifting peoples mentality on a mass scale is a near impossible task.


Auto distribution of a monthly donation would be a great feature for Back Your Stack. Let me donate $10/Mo and have it evenly split between all the projects my code depends on, whether it's 5 or 500. Making that first step easy would help a lot of people to get started donating.


I think one problem is that with so many similar OSS and all free, everyone needs to switch to paid at the same time or users would just migrate to the free OSS left.

Another problem is that in companies, developers are not responsible for where the money goes and often, the people who are in charge of this would just not understand why the developer would be asking to pay for something that's free ...


I heart date-fns. Using it in my latest project. Thanks for the information, I had no idea Open Collective existed.


It really sucks that corps are willing to pay tens of thousands $ for something that has better OS alternative, but if they are asked to spare some change for OS donation they are just throwing "We're not charity" shit.
@kossnocorp you have another backer, I've used date-fns a few times and it's great. Couldn't spare much but I hope that more will follow. Thank you for your work.


Thank you a lot, any contribution is much appreciated!


I'm not even talking about my hourly rate and thousands of dollars I invested into the development

Well we should, and I will keep asking successful companies how do they contribute to the OS projects they use. I think that speaking about problems and applying pressure is a good thing.


Bruh, that's so brutally honest. Appreciate it...


How do you manage to pay 50$ per month on hosting? That is already too expensive per year for simple hosting. And even more a more potent VPS is under 10$/mo


I use Firebase Realtime Database, and the price is coming from the outgoing traffic. I used to pay a couple of dollars for that, but for the last year, the number grew from 20 to 50 (this month it's 60). It definitely could be optimized, but it will cost me dozens of hours which would be much more expensive than hosting. Also, I have more important things to do for the library.


What do you use the database for? Looking at your site, i see nothing that looks not like a normal static site

For storing documentation for every version of date-fns. You can see the source code: github.com/date-fns/date-fns.org


very upfront and true. for the amount managers will pay for adobe, etc.. there is no reason to corner off a part for our investment into our own community: open-source.

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