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November 17, 2010 AT 12:00 am

Should Companies That Use Open Source Software Pay a Tithe? @ Technology Review

Should Companies That Use Open Source Software Pay a Tithe? – Technology Review – thanks Kevin!

Weinberg’s idea is simple: reckons companies that make a profit with the help of Free and Open Source Software should return a tenth of their profit to the open source community, to help solve problems with some open source projects.

For example, the operating system on which Weinberg runs Duck Duck Go, FreeBSD (for those of you who aren’t OS geeks, it’s another FOSS alternative to Mac OS and Windows, like Linux), is not available on Amazon Web Services, the cloud-based computing-on-demand platform upon which many startups rely.

According to Weinberg, this issue has been open for years; it just isn’t a priority for the FreeBSD developer community. “That’s an example where, if the fix were baked into program, it would be immeditaly used by lots of people,” says Weinberg.

More on Hacker news. One of the many things we like about open source hardware is financially support is partially built in to its existence, if you like an OSHW project someone has released you can pick up a kit and support their efforts.


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3 Comments

  1. This just sounds like a flowery way of saying “License Fee”. If you are keen to contribute to the F/OSS ecosystem then imo you do it properly and take the “bad” with the good. Anyway, if the project is useful to companies, they have an interest in keeping you going. (Also, if it’s GPL or similar, any improvements they make have to be released.)

  2. It’s an interesting notion. I don’t think it’s in the spirit of FOSS to require a tithe-like contribution, but certainly should be encouraged.

  3. The problem I see with donating money back to the open source programming community to stimulate code is; who do you give it to? Open source software generally is, in it’s natural form, a community based project. Who then does the money go to? Do you give it to the original developer who has an application that does what he wants? Or do you give it to a community pot for the best innovation like Adafruit did with kinect?

    I like that they want to give back and all but I think you should donate back to the creator a set amount and then just make a pot with prizes for new features. In all, open software is a difficult thing to fund.

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