No matter if you're a Startup that has just been founded or a large corporation with a company history of 100 years or more. When you're building software today, it's inevitable that you will be using Open Source software, libraries, tooling, or frameworks to base your product upon. It's a solid foundation you can reliably build your product or software on to save you and your company thousands of hours of work by leveraging the mostly unpaid work of other enthusiastic software developers from around the world.
In the vast majority of cases Open Source projects probably started as a hobby project or still even are built and maintained by hobbyists without receiving anything but street credibility and kudos by the community. Most companies are totally fine to pay tens of thousands of Euros in license fees for "enterprise" software from Oracle or SAP but when they're asked to donate only a couple hundred Euros a year for an Open Source project that half of their codebase relies on the answer most of the time is: why should we?!
use🦃🦃🦃@adamrackisCompany: "We'd like to use SQL Server Enterprise"
MS: "That'll be a quarter million dollars + $20K/month"
Company: "We'd like to use Babel"
Babel: "Ok! npm i babel --save"
Babel: "Would you like to help contribute financially?"
Company: "lol no"16:19 PM - 16 Nov 2017
As an independent Freelance Developer I was wondering how I can support the Open Source community other than by doing some Open Source contributions myself so I had this idea: starting with my next project I will ask my clients for an hourly rate that is 1 Euro higher than I originally negotiated or I would usually charge. I will take that money (up to ~160 Euros per month) and support those projects on Open Collective that I'm basing my work upon in my client's project.
I already had this idea roughly one year ago but forgot about it eventually. I will change that now and I encourage you to also do that! If our clients don't see a necessity to support the developers who spend their own, personal time to save us and especially our clients hours and hours of time (and thus money!), we need to find another way to make Open Source projects sustainable!
2 years later, this idea turned out to be not so successful. Most clients didn't care about that at all. They didn't care what I "spend my hourly rate on" or didn't understand why I would want to charge them a Euro more or expected and have seen it more like a "total hourly rate" rather than an "hourly rate + 1 euro for the good". On top of that: living and working in the country with one of the most complicated tax laws world wide, it was (and still is) not easy to find a way to donate a large-ish sum to open source projects every year without potentially receiving an invoice/receipt. So I unfortunately stopped that experiment for now and donate a smaller sum of my taxed income to open source projects instead.
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