I will now charge my clients a fee to support open source projects

No matter if you’re a Startup that has just been founded or a large corporation with a company history of 100 years or more. When you’re building software today, it’s inevitable that you will be using Open Source software, libraries, tooling, or frameworks to base your product upon. It’s a solid foundation you can reliably build your product or software on to save you and your company thousands of hours of work by leveraging the mostly unpaid work of other enthusiastic software developers from around the world.

In the vast majority of cases Open Source projects probably started as a hobby project or still even are built and maintained by hobbyists without receiving anything but street credibility and kudos by the community. Most companies are totally fine to pay tens of thousands of Euros in license fees for “enterprise” software from Oracle or SAP but when they’re asked to donate only a couple hundred Euros a year for an Open Source project that half of their codebase relies on the answer most of the time is: why should we?!

There have been some efforts recently to change that at least a little bit. GitHub just released GitHub Sponsors to offer a way to financially support Open Source maintainers, there is the great company Open Collective whose goal it is to make it easy to fund Open Source projects and the JavaScript consultancy Formidable is not only heavily involved in the development of Open Source software, they also recently announced they’re Paying Cold, Hard Cash For Open Source Contributions.

As an independent Freelance Developer I was wondering how I can support the Open Source community other than by doing some Open Source contributions myself so I had this idea: starting with my next project I will ask my clients for an hourly rate that is 1 Euro higher than I originally negotiated or I would usually charge. I will take that money (up to ~160 Euros per month) and support those projects on Open Collective that I’m basing my work upon in my client’s project.

I already had this idea roughly one year ago but forgot about it eventually. I will change that now and I encourage you to also do that! If our clients don’t see a necessity to support the developers who spend their own, personal time to save us and especially our clients hours and hours of time (and thus money!), we need to find another way to make Open Source projects sustainable!