1 min read

Open Source Software (or how to get paid $0)

Every modern software project depends on open source software (OSS). If you're not familiar with the concept, it's when a developer releases their source code for free. Depending on the licensing agreement, anyone can use it for anything they want. Some of the biggest frameworks and libraries are open source. Their creators don't make any money from this. At most, they might get some people to sponsor their work, but it's typically not a large amount of money.

The value created by OSS is immense. If the developers of the most used OSS in the world were to be paid even 1% of the value they created, they would be sitting on a beach somewhere, drink in hand, probably with a laptop working on their next idea--after all, they built that software as a labor of love in the first place.

The problem is that OSS doesn't pay the bills. If what you built gets popular, you'll probably get more feature requests than thanks. Not to mention that maintaining and improving OSS is a full time job in and of itself.

Pretty much everyone agrees that OSS is awesome, and it would be great if developers could get paid to work on projects that get used. This is why I'm excited about a new project called Tea. It's being built by the creator of Homebrew (a very popular OSS project for mac), and it's using blockchain to pay developers of OSS.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Max Howell on the podcast today about Tea. Give it a listen and enjoy!


P.S. If you're a developer, consider making some donations to the open source projects you use and appreciate.