Who funds FOSS foundations?

Detailed modeling of FOSS Sponsorship programs | FOSS Backstage - Berlin | Slides | Video

Open source sustainability is more than just individuals figuring out how to make a living off of open source. Have you ever wondered who actually pays for open source at the Foundation scale? For more financial research, see my FOSS Funding listings.

Who Funds FOSS Foundations?


Have you ever wondered who actually pays for open source? Not just developers, but the whole ecosystem around major open source projects, either at a FOSS Foundation, independent projects, or an open core project at a company? This is a completely updated version of my talk with sponsorship models, sustainability notes, and top line finance numbers for dozens of foundations.

Most major software projects we all rely on are hosted at Foundations like Apache, Eclipse, Linux, or Software Freedom Conservancy. Those foundations provide a wide variety of support to project communities, including legal and licensing assistance, trademark management, event support, and more. As non-profits, these foundations rely on donors and sponsors for all of their work. So who pays for all of this critical support for open source foundations?

Come find out what companies are behind the popular open source foundations and major independent projects, and who’s actually paying for all of the other support work that’s done to keep the servers running, press releases coming, and license compliance work. Surprises are guaranteed; I know I was surprised when I realized how many different FOSS projects that Microsoft is an annual sponsor for, and what projects a few other companies supported with their cash.

Foundation funding is just one small part of the issues around FOSS Sustainability.

Understanding how Foundations get and use their funding.

Originally published March 5, 2024 | View revision history

Shane is founder of Punderthings℠ LLC consultancy, helping organizations find better ways to engage with the critical open source projects that power modern technology and business. He blogs and tweets about open source governance and trademark issues, and speaks at open source conferences like ApacheCon, OSCON, All Things Open, Community Leadership Summit, and Ignite. More about the author →

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