Hi folks. I’ve decided to start experimenting with Gittip. Gittip is a platform for making regular weekly pledges (e.g. 25 cents up to 100 USD) to an individual for the work that they do. In my case, any patronage will help me do the general development, bug-fixing and community work on open-source virtual world projects (chiefly OpenSimulator) that I think is essential for the Metaverse to succeed in the long term.
Up till now, I’ve relied solely on consulting gigs to sustain my efforts, and many clients are very generous in agreeing to put improvements back into OpenSimulator. However, such code is often only a small part of their project. Moreover, it’s usually code to address specific bugs that they encounter, rather than code that tries to make fundamental improvements to our situation.
For instance, I would love to spend much more time much more on helping to improve the Hypergrid system so that people can reliably and securely move around the Metaverse. But this is speculative and high complex infrastructure work with no immediate return on investment for a client. I would also love to work more with people like David Rowe (with his ctrlaltstudio viewer) to make the Metaverse more immersive with OpenSimulator-specific support for peripherals such as Oculus Rift and Kinect. But again, this is experimental work that is difficult to fund.
I try and compensate for this by reserving at least a day every week to work solely on general OpenSimulator tasks. But this is often too small a stretch of time to make much progress on difficult problems. In addition, an open-source project of any size is about much more than code. One has to co-ordinate patches from contributors (which are always appreciated!), co-ordinate with other core developers (which can be hard), write documentation, etc. I do a lot of these tasks and they all take a lot of time :). And this is not to mention the volunteer work involved in co-chairing a conference.
So as an experiment, I’ve signed up with Gittip to see if people in the wider OpenSimulator community would like to help sponsor the fundamental work that I’ve described. I prefer regular sponsorship so that I can plan for the future, but one off donations are also welcome. I know Kickstarters are a popular funding route, but I believe that it’s difficult to use them to advance an ongoing open-source effort.
Any sponsorship amount is welcome and many thanks in advance to anybody who does support me in this way. But I do want to stress that there’s absolutely no obligation to do so. Donations are anonymous, though I have no problem if anybody wants to be public about it.
Whatever happens, I will continue to be active in both development and the broader community as much as other work allows. However, patronage via Gittip will help me spend more time fixing general bugs and making the broad enhancements that benefit everybody in the OpenSimulator ecosystem.
In the event that I don’t need the money (e.g. because a university directly funds me to perform general OpenSimulator work), then I would use it to fund OpenSimulator project costs (such as server hosting) or I would use it to encourage other improvements to the open-source Metaverse.
If you would rather engage me in traditional consulting work then that is also very welcome. I’ve recently become available for new work so please see the separate blog post for details.
If you have any feedback on this, good or bad, then please let me know in the comments.