The Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Open Source Communities
2020 has had its impact on everyone. In the TYPO3 community, we’ve found it challenging not meeting in person anymore. Instead, we switched to remote-only sprints and meet-ups due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
No events also means no sponsors or ticket sales. Until now, many open source software projects have based their main fundraising around conferences and events—those not backed by commercial entities, at least. This became almost instantly unsustainable in 2020, leading to threats to their financial viability and many “scrambling to raise funds during the pandemic.” FOSS Responders helped, raising and distributing $100,000 US dollars to struggling individuals and organizations in the FOSS ecosystem.
In TYPO3 however, things are different, opening up new possibilities. In contrast, the TYPO3 community doesn’t rely on events for fundraising. TYPO3 Association memberships and donations provide approximately €650,000 annually to be funneled back into core development and community projects each year.
In previous years, TYPO3 events such as sprints or conferences provided travel and accommodation costs for contributors or speakers. With all in-person events on ice since March, travel costs plummeted in 2020. So, unlike other projects, the effects of COVID-19 have left us with surplus funds, so we wondered what we should do with them?
Giving Back and Sharing the Love
We decided to give back; from open source to open source. TYPO3 shares its open source roots with other PHP projects that have reshaped the ecosystem of PHP over the last twenty years.
Since our strong development movement towards standards and interoperability starting in 2015, a lot of the maintenance work has moved off our shoulders. We added de facto standard components from the Symfony framework, and added Composer as a first-class citizen into TYPO3 over the past years. We’ve also made our CMS more robust by building tests based on PHPUnit.
That’s why we donated €10,000 of the TYPO3 Core Team budget to each, the Symfony framework, the Packagist/Composer ecosystem, and PHPUnit. Projects you and I use for free on a daily basis. We love these projects—we rely on them, too—and we want to support their ongoing success and sustainability. This goes beyond this one donation for me: I want to make a statement that we’re not taking the free and open source software that makes our lives easier every day, and with each new version, for granted.
Thank you, Fabien Potencier, for creating and maintaining Symfony framework, and thank you to all contributors who help keep the massive backwards-compatibility promise!
Thank you, Nils Adermann and Jordi Boggiano, for creating and maintaining not just Composer, but also the Packagist.org infrastructure for free and for everyone to use, reshaping the PHP universe for the better.
Thank you Sebastian Bergmann, for making PHP more professional for 20 years by providing and maintaining PHPUnit.
Here’s to a Bright, Shining Open Source future, Where Everyone Helps Each Other in the Good Times and the Bad! This is Possible Because of Our Vibrant Community—Thank You!
You might be wondering what makes TYPO3 different?
The funds we have available are through TYPO3 Association memberships, which start at €7.92 per year, and go up to the Platinum level of €12,500 per year. This gives all members voting rights on TYPO3 Board positions and a vote on how the budget is to be spent each year.
These funds afford the TYPO3 community to fund travel and expenses for contribution sprints, or to pay for speaker fees and travel expenses for conferences and camps. The work in the community happens within Teams and Strategic Initiatives each with leadership roles, and regular meeting times. Until the COVID-19 crisis, these teams would meet in person for contribution sprints, collaboration, and bonding.
Whereas in other communities, participants must rely on either self-funding their costs or convincing their employer, TYPO3 subsidized and lower the costs. This, in turn, lowers the barriers to participation.
This is why we’re lucky to benefit from surpluses in a time when other communities and contributors are struggling.
I extend a hearty and warm thank you to the generosity of the TYPO3 community who support contribution.
If you’d like to be a part of it … Join as a TYPO3 Association Member