Personally I’m not convinced that A. there are funds floating around just waiting to go into the coffers of fund and B. that this is the ideal way for the project to inject and manage financing development.
The non-profit that I help operate received a grant for $4,500 to pay me to develop improvements to the automatic playlist/smart blocks from a local arts non-profit. This is the first money I think that has been directly paid for LibreTime development vs. outside contracting and setup. I thought about having it go through open collective but we didn’t have that setup and it isn’t clear how we would decide how we distribute funds between individuals. I don’t think we want to go the direction of having a core of a few developers getting paid and the rest of the community volunteering. I also don’t think that without finding funding from outside funders such as foundations or stations with large budgets there is sufficient funds to support anyone.
So what are the benefits of having the money be transparently divided and 5% cut out to a separate host organization ?
People and Orgs could contribute directly to LibreTime, there is an open question as to how many people would provide funds and if there would be sufficient funds to support developers in any meaningful way. It may just establish a hierarchy of paid devs vs. unpaid devs. We don’t want to emulate the SourceFabric model where there are paid developers and then there is a community who has to submit everything to the paid devs who have their own agenda. Part of the C4 is focused on keeping things focused on the code and community driven.
Specifically I’m thinking of this quote from the Zero MQ book - by Peter Hintjens author of the C4
Thirdly, communities need some kind of financial backing. This is the jagged rock that breaks most ships. If you starve a community, it becomes more creative but the core contributors burn out. If you pour too much money into it, you attract the professionals, who never say “no”, and the community loses its diversity and creativity. If you create a fund for people to share, they will fight (bitterly) over it. With ZeroMQ, we (iMatix) spend our time and money on marketing and packaging (like this book), and the basic care, like bug fixes, releases, and websites.
I don’t want to create a fund that we end up fighting over and it may make sense to keep the funding model as a part of the separate organizations that use LibreTime and just recruit people who have a knowledge of the codebase vs. setting up a OpenCollective per se.
I don’t know for sure though, it is an open question and not one that we have a consensus on. Specifically @hairmare has never chimed in with his thoughts on this and he has probably done the most in terms of coordinating development and getting LibreTime to be a real project but I also know he has a full-time job and I doubt that whatever funds we have would be competitive with that.
One of the interpretations of LibreTime is “free time” and running this as a volunteer based project done by people in their free time has been one of the underlying default philosophies. We didn’t start this to run a SaaS service to compete with Airtime and make money. Funding development and encouraging more people to contribute would probably be a positive but it also makes sense to keep things orientated around a community effort to provide free and easy to use software for low budget radio stations around the world rather than turning it into a commercial effort. I’m pretty sure one of the reasons that Airtime abandoned their open-source model was they weren’t making enough money off of Airtime.pro to cover the salary of their development team let alone have their development team put the extra effort into making sure there was a well ran open-source community.
I do think it might be possible to get some grants to fund the development like the one my non-profit received and we could do that through my 501c3 just as easily as OpenCollective and we wouldn’t need to necessarily earmark 5% to the organization. That discussion would need to be run by more board, but its definitely another angle that we could pursue.
Encouraging collaboration amongst developers and ensuring the project runs smoothly is great. At this point I think that we are gaining momentum and I don’t know if creating the overhead of OpenCollective will be helpful.
What I’d love to see is a plan for moving forward from Zend and I came up with some ideas that I’ll try to add back to Github or post on here.
Until we have someone with a large check book that wants to make LibreTime work it doesn’t necessarily make sense to worry too much about it. I’d spend our time researching grants and potential funders and then if we see any grant opportunities we can discuss how we would distribute and receive funding. Just my opinion. Would love to hear any different ideas.