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Sustainable Open Source Manifesto

July 2022

OSS (Open Source Software) has won the battle. Every aspect of modern life is at least partly powered by it. OSS is also unsustainable. Organizations and individuals benefit from it, yet little is given in return. OSS is also hard. A considerable amount of time and effort is required to maintain code and deal with demanding strangers. I would like to continue doing Open Source but I do not enjoy the current status quo, therefore I am from here on now going to use a different model. Here are some of the core tenets:

  • Libraries I develop will still be MIT with all its stipulations; free, distributable, etc.
  • I do not owe you (user of my library) absolutely anything except the respect and decency I would give any other person. My goodwill ends at me providing my code to you.
  • If you open a ticket and it is not a problem with my code but a layer 8 problem, I will just close the issue and point you to Stack Overflow.
  • If you want me to spend time helping you: giving hints, teaching you how to do something, fixing your code, from now on you will have to donate (I have enabled Github Sponsors).
  • If you open a ticket and I determine it is a bug, you have taken the time to explore the causes or provide a reproducible example, I appreciate it greatly and might fix the issue in a promptly manner. However I might just consider the bug trivial or not worth my time. You can change this by donating.
  • If you have a disagreement or a different opinion how the package is built, its API or any other aspect that functionally does not prevent the package from working, you will be required to donate for me to take time to evaluate/patch/update the package.
  • Contributors are mostly exempt from donating. You are giving something back, I appreciate that! However some changes might require too much work/effort on my part. I will evaluate this on a per-case basis.
  • There is nothing I can do to stop large organizations from greatly benefiting from my OSS work. I can only plead to good conscience, however I would expect a sponsorship as a must. Even for trivial bugs and PRs. It’s only fair.

Basically it all comes down to: Doing OSS is hard and leads to burn outs, I don’t want to burn. I already gave you my code (which is a proxy for my time and years of knowledge) to you for free. You give me money, I spend my time (which I personally value very highly) helping you. Sounds like a fair deal to me.