I'm going to work full-time on free software

Published 2019-01-15 on Drew DeVault's blog

Sorry for posting two articles so close to each other - but this is important! As I’m certain many of you know, I maintain a large collection of free software projects, including sway, wlroots, sr.ht, scdoc, aerc, and many, many more. I contribute to more still, working on projects like Alpine Linux, mrsh, musl libc, and anything else I can. Until now, I’ve been working on these in my spare time, but just under a year ago I wrote “The path to sustainably working on FOSS full-time” laying out my future plans. Today I’m proud to tell you that, thanks to everyone’s support, I’ll be working on free software full-time starting in February.

I’m so excited! I owe many people a great deal of thanks. To everyone who has donated to my fosspay, Patreon, and LiberaPay accounts: thank you. To all of the sr.ht users who chose to pay for their account despite it being an alpha: thank you. I also owe a thanks to all of the amazing contributors who give their spare time towards making the projects I maintain even better, without whom my software wouldn’t be anywhere near as useful to anyone.

I don’t want to make grandiose promises right away, but I’m confident that increasing my commitment to open source to this degree is going to have a major impact on my projects. For now, my primary focus is sr.ht: its paid users make up the majority of the funding. Relatedly, I plan to invest more time in Alpine Linux on RISC-V and making RISC-V builds available to the sr.ht community. Sway and wlroots are in good shape as we quickly approach sway 1.0, and for this reason I want to give a higher priority to my smaller, more neglected projects like aerc for the time being. As I learn more about my bandwidth under these new conditions, I’ll expand my plans accordingly.

I need to clarify that despite choosing to work full-time on these projects, my income is going to be negative for a while. I have enough savings and income now that I feel comfortable making the leap, and I plan on working my ass off before my runway ends to earn the additional subscriptions to sr.ht and donations to fosspay et al that will make this decision sustainable in the long term. If that doesn’t happen before I get near the end of my runway, I’ll have to start looking for different work again. I’m depending on your continued support. If you appreciate my work but haven’t yet, please consider buying a subscription to sr.ht or donating to my general projects fund. Thank you!

All said, words cannot describe how excited I am. It’s been my dream for years to work on these projects full-time. Hitting this critical threshold of funding allows me to tremendously accelerate the progress of these projects. If you were impressed by what I built in my spare time, just wait until you see what we can accomplish now!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support!

P.S: I’ll see you at FOSDEM! Ask me for a sticker.

Have a comment on one of my posts? Start a discussion in my public inbox by sending an email to ~sircmpwn/public-inbox@lists.sr.ht [mailing list etiquette]

Are you a free software maintainer who is struggling with stress, demanding users, overwork, or any other social problems in the course of your work? Please email me — I know how you feel, and I can lend a sympathetic ear and share some veteran advice.


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