As others have alluded earlier, I have extensive involvement and opinions on this matter.
I joined Tidelift as part of the initial batch of maintainers on the system. I joined after having a conversation with the CEO Donald Fischer. That conversation left me extremely excited about the prospects that Tidelift is creating for the open
source ecosystem. I’ve long dreamt of there being a system that supports financially what has traditionally been a mostly volunteer effort. I’d even drafted some ideas around a system similar to Tidelift where content producers (more generally than open source
software) could reap rewards, similar to royalties, proportional to the value they provide downstream. Tidelift implements a similar model, acting as a champion and broker for open source maintainers and attempting to create a fair and equitable platform for
distribution of sponsorship from commercial interests deriving value from the otherwise free projects.
One of the features I appreciate most about Tidelift is how it works with each project and its maintainers directly to create a simple and uncomplicated process for achieving its goals. And while I appreciate the efforts Tidelift is making to
enroll groups like Python Devs and PyPA, I am concerned that sponsoring a group and thus sponsorship through a large entity like the PSF will fail to create the most basic incentive - to compensate and reward maintainers for the vigilance on the project. It
will open up other opportunities, such the potential for grants for larger, more rigorously-planned projects.
I say all of this with full transparency that I have hundreds of projects registered with Tidelift, 12 of which are funded, Setuptools being the most prominent. Tidelift has incentivized me to work more on open source and specifically
heightened the response to security incidents. Moreover, I take Tidelift very seriously and have plans to build my financial future around continued maintenance of these projects.
My preference would be for these projects to enroll individually, and for those maintainers that wish to direct the project’s compensation to the PSF or another entity should do so, and those that wish to distribute the compensation to contributors
or co-maintainers should do so. For example, in the CherryPy projects, I share compensation with a co-maintainer and on Setuptools, I’ve offered equal shares to those aiding substantially with the maintenance.
All this to say, I’m enthusiastic about PyPA projects coming on board with Tidelift and I would certainly encourage and offer guidance to any projects joining, but I’d be mildly opposed to the funding being directed away from the maintainers (lifters).
If we wish for PyPA projects to provide contributions to PSF, I’d recommend to separate that concern from sponsorships.
For anyone wondering what the $$$ numbers look like for some of the major projects in the ecosystem, this thread is a worthwhile read.
One thing I'm not clear on from this proposal is *who* would get this money. Would it go to the PSF as a "fiscal sponsor"? To be clear, I'm not asking from the POV of "I want to be paid for stuff", or "I don't want someone else to profit from
my work" - I'm simply interested from the practical point of view of who benefits, and the (ethical, I guess?) POV of how transparent we are being about how people's contributions are getting converted into money.
PS To be clear, I know that what I'm doing is massively over-thinking something that's fundamentally just "yay, free money!" But I can't help feeling an additional level of responsibility when money's involved. Sorry.
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