Slowly coalescing some feelings into the idea that $pay_the_maintainer platforms are basically the gig economy for open source. FOSS sustainability conversations always seem to focus around pay (and not very much of it) as opposed to time (full-time jobs with good benefits)

I feel like it's not fair to compare "gainfully employed with benefits" to "can eke by enough of a living to not starve, but still an independent contractor." Not sustainable, and pretty dependent on externalities like "universal healthcare" and "social safety net" to work

Show thread

I'd like to imagine a world where I'm compensated comparably just based on my FOSS work compared to what my employer pays me now? But I honestly can't.

I'm incredibly lucky, and I'd rather expand these kinds of opportunities than create yet another employee/contractor divide.

Show thread

Does anyone outside of public charities and Red Hat have a *business model* of hiring FOSS developers to work on existing community-run projects as *employees*?

Show thread

@ehashman I don't know if it counts or not.. but the FreeBSD project is known to hire FOSS Developers when they need something special for thing X done and they need help/expertiese

@ehashman some universities’ IT departments used to. MFCF comes to mind.

@ehashman I think the Sugar CRM folks do.

You could also grep major projects like the Linux kernel or Gnome for email addresses. That will give you a good idea of which companies directly contribute to FOSS.

You'll need to do some additional research, but that will give you a good starting point.

Also, it *used* to be fun to grep the Linux kernel for comments containing expletives. Some of the frustrated comments were quite funny. Newer kernels are a lot "cleaner."

@profoundlynerdy Linux kernel -> IBM made a lot of the initial early investments, RH pioneered the business model, most organizations don't have an existential dependence on it thriving, but those who do (or who have products who do) absolutely employ people to work on upstream FT

GNOME is a charitable foundation so

@ehashman IBM has famously contributed development hours to the Linux kernel. I'm not sure how involved they are these days, but I would suppose they still are. But then they just bought RedHat, didn't they?

@ehashman the company I work for, to some extent...? We are a mix of full-time employees and contractors, or part-time with partial benefits, and while the people who are only developers work on either a project that has a community foundation or another that is somewhat community-driven (via funding mostly) but maintained by the company. I'm not explaining this well because it's very fuzzy/confusing! But Canadian employees are full-time FOSS-devving

@ehashman Does Linaro count as a charity? It's a business alliance.

Although consultancy and contracting is slightly in the grey zone of what you're asking.

LibreOffice ecosystem and the companies around PicoLisp and ZeroMQ may or may not be more like what you're asking for. Depending on what the tie to business model means, Microsoft hiring language people like Guido van Rossum and Simon Peyton Jones might count. Haskell would not be where it is today without Microsoft Research, and with the exception of PicoLisp, none of the mentioned projects can be said to be run by a company, they're primarily community projects.

PicoLisp is run by regenaxer as a dominant contributor, but he is an individual, not a big corporation, and he has been earning money on using the language in consulting for three decades while others have been contributing to the language too.
gig economy has come to mean a capitalist owning the fruit of your labor without having any obligation whatsoever to you
pay-the-maintainer platforms may very well take such a wrong turn too. developers will hopefully be smarter than that and avoid this unnecessary and extremely expensive intermediation. going independent, or into cooperatives, sounds like far more favorable possibilities to me
Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!