Collaboration is at the heart of open source. One person gives voice to a need; others join in chorus and quickly an idea becomes a project...and a community.
We have always been in this together.
So I want to tell you the story of FOSS Responders and our UPLIFT! event, both designed to support open source projects already feeling the economic fallout from COVID-19. We chapter this story in the quantitation of metrics, but fundamentally it is a story of impact that goes far beyond numbers. It is our story of sustaining open source communities – people with hearts and minds – during an unprecedented time of disruption and change.
Once upon a (real)time… there was 1 tweet a mere 4 months ago (remember (March?) asking how others of open source were doing in the disruptions of COVID-19. All around us we could see unparalleled unemployment rates and economic contraction and knew that open source was not immune to their effects. In response, 99 volunteers rallied to tackle these challenges to our ecosystem.
Funding our project has been challenging but the support from FOSS Responders will go a long way towards making sure Certbot is on stable ground. – Max Hunter, Electronic Frontier Foundation
A world without the innovation of open source is not a world we will ever accept. Together, we rallied to support our peers with an online funding event. Aptly named UPLIFT!, the goal was to lift up open source organizations hit hard because of event cancellations, disappearing sponsorship opportunities and their usual ways of fundraising with their communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
With the support of 10 corporate partners and 22 individual donations (thank you!), we were able to raise $105,000USD for 10 open source organizations. The organizations FOSS Responders was able to uplift are; Apache Software Foundation, Drupal Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), FOSSASIA, Free Software Foundation, GNOME Foundation, Open Source Matters Inc., Plain Schwarz/Berlin Buzzwords, Python Software Foundation, and The Tor Project. Together, these organizations represent 1000s of open source contributors and 100s of employees.
"This was a really fun event and it energized our team." - Python Software Foundation
Like the open source ecosystem and technology engineering itself, UPLIFT! was an event of innovation. To pull together and run the event, we used 9 platforms (Zoom, Jitsi, Etherpad, Google Docs, Slack, Signal, Open Collective, Twitter and good ol’ email) to showcase these 10 amazing teams. Eighty-nine attendees joined to discuss critical open source sustainability, representing 9 countries (and at least 7 timezones!).
Some topics were serious. Others were fun. Serious discussions included ‘How to best fund the FOSS organizations’, ‘How to move and run events online and best practices’, and ‘How to involve workplaces in FOSS organizations and projects.’ The fun ones ranged in absurdity including: 1 unicorn hat, 1 Happy Birthday by 55 Zoom atonal voices, and countless laughs.
"The people who came to our 'booth' were so engaged and asked such thoughtful questions.” - The Tor Project
We want to thank our amazing Partners: the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, DigitalOcean, GitHub, Google Open Source, Indeed, Linux Fund, Open Collective, Open Source Collective, Sentry.io, and The Ethereum Foundation for their generous support of the open source ecosystem.
We would also like to thank the 10 organizations for all that they do and for joining us in showcasing open source resiliency. We would also like to thank our 10 room hosts and 10 reviewers whose generosity of spirit facilitated these dialogues of open source support. And we would like to thank our 89 attendees that helped us tackle economic contraction for our open source reality.
It will take courage and commitment to continue to build a resilient open source community that can weather these unplanned events. We need each other and we need to work together.
If you would like to help email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was crossposted on the FOSS Responders Blog. All illustrations penned by the amazing Eriol Fox. You can find the entire UPLIFT infographic HERE. There's 1 unicorn hat 🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄 you don't want to miss. #promise!