For a while, I have been thinking of economically viable business/funding models for open technology; I believe this is the most important problem facing open technology today. See some of my previous post here: the why? the how?
Fortunately, there are many efforts in this direction. But alas, it will take time before we converge on a long-term solution with no strings attached.
I propose an interim solution.
Assuming we are all most generous on our birthdays, the general idea is simple:
- On your birthday allocate a small sum of money to donate proportionally to the open projects you use the most.
- Then, you can also share the list of projects with your friends so that they can gift-you by supporting the projects you care about.
And here is a (potential) practical plan for open software (open source, libre) projects.
On your birthday:
- Generate a list of programs with usage statistics and order by percent of usage.
- Shell/Python script?
- Output to a Spreadsheet/CSV file.
- Determine the amount of money you will donate this year to support the projects you use.
- A small fraction of your disposable income? remember some of these programs allow you to get your work done.
- Multiply the sum of money by the fraction of usage for every project.
- Donate proportionally to every project.
- The more you use a program, the larger the fraction of money devoted to support that project.
- Share your program’s usage stats spreadsheet with all of your close friends.
- Through e-mail or social media.
- You can use dropbox, google docs …etc.
- Encourage your friends to donate to your listed projects as a gift on your birthday.
- Perhaps to projects you both use.
- When they donate you both receive the thank you e-mail.
- Update the shared spreadsheet with your friends’ names and send them a personal thank you note.
Steps 1-4 are personal donations (you can do these on your own). Steps (5-7) are gifts from your friends.
Note: Steps 1-4 could be automated in the future.
Thanks for reading, all comments are welcome.