How to support FOSS projects?

According to openFOAM, only 1% of users donate money to FOSS projects*. So we shouldn’t be surprised many of them are abandoned. In my opinion, if that number could be increased to 20-25%, with average amount of 5 €/month, it should be sufficient to get some really, really good FOSS software. If there are ~3B PC users, 2% of them use FOSS, 20% of them are paying 5 €/month, that’s enough for 20.000 full time employees with 3000 €/month average salary (not enough for Norway, more than enough for Argentina). Combined with stuff from other companies, governments, agencies… who need FOSS for their services, plus volunteers who give small contributions from time to time (translation, design, bug reports…), it could be something great for all. E.g. Autodesk has 7000 employees (acc. to Wikipedia) and are one of the leaders in CAD (CAx) software industry. If 500-1000 people would have full time job as a FreeCAD employees, they could make it really useful even for professionals. Blender could be as good as 3DS Max/Maya, Kdenlive as good as Premiere, etc…

So, is it possible to change people’s mind, and “make” them support FOSS. At least 20% of them. Or convince companies to “subscribe” to open source programs instead of commercial ones. Is it possible at all to have at least one Krita/Gimp/Inkscape user in a company which is paying 5-10 Adobe subscriptions?



You are right, if everybody donated, the community would have more resources, however, the fact that there aren’t huge salaries makes the developing community less of a business. I like the fact that FOSS software is more for a cause than for the money.

However, I think work should be paid and that with more resources, FOSS could be better maintained. The FOSS community (I would say we, but privacy is not the same as FOSS) should be more conscious of how donating a little amount can make such a great impact.

I think the best way to approach is make sure you donate and make sure you share the value of donations with your friends and family, and that they spread it. This way, the community grows. I feel like people reading forums and informed are already donating (or at least most of them), so we need to reach for the rest of the FOSS community.

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I’m going to sound like dumb, but, for me, it’s not even the lack of donations (in fact, I pay ~$100/month just for hosting). So I don’t do any of my projects for money.

That said, it would be nice to receive a message every now and then, if someone is enjoying any of my services. Unfortunately I don’t get those.

Sometimes it makes you kind of feel taken for granted, especially if most comments are issues people are having and they aren’t being nice about it.

So if you enjoy something, let people know. It goes a long way.


I didn’t read your link yet.

I am currently reading Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now and it mentioned this issue and I understand that Jaron Lanier’s solution would be universal micropayments also for all users and that Who Owns the Future is more about this subject.

As far as I am aware, currently micropayments are limited to:

Then there are legislation issues like especially Liberapay being practically illegal in Finland.

Other worth mentioning would probably be:


not sure of your services provided but can imagine a reluctance due to your location and website (in profile;)

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Patreon is mostly used in Porn.

All your linked micropayment plattforms are not privacy friendly.

I’d like to see some sources on that, doesn’t sound right :thinking:


Username checks out

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This is so true. Thanks for the reminder @crossroads and for the optimism! It’s easy to put off and forget with life. I’m going to put aside time this weekend to thank and donate to small projects that make my life better.

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Can’t speak for porn specifically, but from what I’ve read Patreon’s management doesn’t really “get” the disruptive (in the non-newspeak sense) potential of their solution. They are basically a generic US-style tech company looking for “trillion % day on day growth” and all that jazz. This sort of attitude is simply not sustainable if you’re looking for a true user-centric service.


In case anyone is interested, it turns out that this was partially false. Finnish people can use international crowdfunding sites as long as they don’t intent to receive donations from Finns.

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