Monetizing open-source development and supporting the community

Edit this page | 2 minute read

I was recently interviewed by a popular .NET podcast and we ended up discussing how to get companies to support the open-source community. So here’s me calling all developers and tech enthusiasts! It’s time to take action and support the open-source projects that drive innovation and empower so many projects. I invite you to join me in an attempt to monetize open source development and ensuring the sustainability of these valuable initiatives. As the creator of Fluent Assertions, a popular .NET open-source project that has crossed 250 million downloads on, I understand firsthand the impact and challenges of maintaining open source. Together, I hope we can make a difference and foster a thriving open-source ecosystem.

Requesting financial support from your organization

Let’s start by approaching our managers or CTOs and requesting financial support for open-source projects. Highlight the benefits of investing in open-source, such as improved software quality, enhanced security, and the opportunity to collaborate with a vibrant developer community. I encourage you to share the success stories of open-source projects like Fluent Assertions, xUnit or Identity Server, demonstrating the tangible value they bring to organizations. Urge your company to consider donating a portion of their budget each month to support these projects and the wider ecosystem.

Creating a sponsorship selection committees

To ensure fairness in distributing funds, propose the idea of creating a sponsorship selection committee (or something less formal). Such a committee could consist of representatives from different teams and (potentially) departments. Together, they can evaluate and prioritize open-source projects that require financial backing. By involving a diverse range of perspectives, you can make informed decisions that align with our organization’s goals and ensure that funds are allocated where they will have the greatest impact.

Using tools for project assessment and distribution

Efficiently managing financial contributions to open source projects is crucial. You could utilize tools and services like Black Duck, Dependabot or others that help assess the open-source projects your project or department relies on and distribute funds accordingly. These tools provide valuable insights into project popularity, usage statistics, and development activity. By leveraging such data, you can make sensible decisions about where to allocate financial support.

Sponsoring your favorite open-source project yourself

Let’s take some personal responsibility for monetizing open-source development by sponsoring the projects we are passionate about. I believe Fluent Assertions has been mostly successful thanks to the support and contributions from the community. If there’s an open-source project that you love, consider sponsoring it yourself. Even a small monthly contribution, like 5 EUR per month, can make a significant difference when combined with the support of others. By sponsoring projects like that, we empower their maintainers and encourage them to continue their valuable work.

About me

I’m a Microsoft MVP and Principal Consultant at Aviva Solutions with 26 years of experience under my belt. As a coding software architect and/or lead developer, I specialize in building or improving (legacy) full-stack enterprise solutions based on .NET as well as providing coaching on all aspects of designing, building, deploying and maintaining software systems. I’m the author of Fluent Assertions, a popular .NET assertion library, Liquid Projections, a set of libraries for building Event Sourcing projections and I’ve been maintaining coding guidelines for C# since 2001. You can find me on Twitter, Mastadon and Blue Sky.

Leave a Comment