1 Billion Dollars for Open Source Maintainers

A presentation at State of Open Con in in London, UK by Tobie Langel

Worldwide, we spend over 1 trillion dollars per year for the loaded cost of software developers.

If every company spent just 0.1% of that amount to fund open source maintainers, we’d unlock a billion dollars per year to fund the maintenance of open source.

That would pay the full time salaries for thousands of maintainers, their managers, security training, etc.

That seems fairly cheap for software that accounts for 70% to 97% of our software stack depending on how you count. And just imagine the positive impact it would have on the security of our software supply chain!

We’re way overdue making a clear distinction between open source developers and open source maintainers and professionalizing the latter.

In this talk, we’ll look at the current solutions to support open source software maintenance and their limits, the negative impact of feature-driven open source sponsoring, successful example of professionalizing maintenance in an adjacent field (Open Web Docs), what this could concretely look like for open source, and the benefits it would have for the community, the contributors, the users, and the end-users.



The following resources were mentioned during the presentation or are useful additional information.