Over the past couple of years, we’ve observed a number of models emerging that enable a path towards sustainability for Open Source maintainers. Most notably: OpenCollective & GitHub Sponsors. We at npm are in full support of both these initiatives, and intend to collaborate further with these organizations.
1. Any funding platform must strike the proper balance between making it easy to fund a publisher, without being intrusive or breaking the development lifecycle.
2. The size and depth of dependency graphs in the npm registry mean that funding high-visibility projects is not sufficient, if their dependencies are also not supported. This is an interconnected ecosystem, and just rewarding the stars will not solve the problem.
3. Despite a significant dependence on Open Source, and a widespread understanding of the business benefits of financial sustainability of the Open Source commons, large enterprise consumers are not engaged in a meaningful way for Open Source work to be quantified and measured.
As a result, past experiments in this area have typically been overly disruptive, inadequately distributed, or ultimately ineffective.
npm, Inc. is uniquely positioned to address these challenges and ensure a fair and collaborative approach to funding Open Source maintainers.
2. npm has clear visibility into which dependencies throughout the tree are used by an application, even if the author of that application is only aware of the top-level dependencies. We can distribute funding support fairly to those who may be overlooked.
Now we are ready to invite the community’s most active contributors and the biggest enterprise consumers of public open source code to a working group to finalize the platform’s definition.
Next week Ahmad, Isaac and myself will be reaching out in order to get the expertise around the table with a goal of being able to share the framework by late September. If you are interested in participating, especially if you are part of an organization that is a large net consumer of packages and you are looking to fund contributors, please reach out to us and we will try to get you involved.
We know this has been a long time coming. And, the time is now!
If you have questions or comments, please send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.