Fundraising and the OS community

I am dedicating this section of the DSL website to the study of fundraising within the Linux community. I am going to examine how large and small projects sustain themselves, how they earn revenue, and what makes a project viable.

This may seem like an odd topic to discuss here, but I feel like it is something that the Linux community should pay more attention to, and where else should I discuss it other than the home of my favorite open source project?

First thing I think I will do is to look at how other institutions and loosely formed organizations out side of the Linux and OS community go about fundraising.

Some organizations which often utilize fundraising:
Churches and other religious organizations
Sporting organizations (kids' soccer leagues, etc.)
Organized charities
Non-profits (PBS, Red Cross, etc.)

Smaller Organizations without legal status:
Rec centers
Student government

What does all this have to do with Linux and the Open Source community? Everything and nothing. To tell you the truth, I was inspired to work on this section by reading the writings of Jorge Arellano (chief Dillo developer) who has been struggling with the funding of his project for years. Obviously, the world stands to benefit from a viable and light-weight open source browser, but being a worthy cause is not enough to sustain a project. Dillo keeps improving at a slow and steady pace; I have no doubt that it will be all that Jorge intends it to be one day. Yet, I know it is a struggle for him.

His situation is duplicated 1000 times over. Around the world, there are many worthy projects which could flourish if their authors just had the time to work on them.

"Will code for food?"

I don't think it needs to come to that....
Running the DSL project, I am learning quite a bit about how to manage and rise income for a OS project. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I think I have some knowledge which should prove useful for others who are working on non-corporate funded projects. Also, I welcome others from the OS community to write to me with their opinions and ideas on the subject. I think that we should be able to write a type of guide for software developers who want to keep their code in OS, yet do not want to run into debt to keep their project alive.

There is a lot to discuss about fundraising. Let's get this going for the good of the open source community.

Topic Pages:
Fundraising Organizations
Raising Money
Software Grants