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While just about every modern application relies on at least some open-source components, the risks involved in leaning too heavily on under managed open-source projects is leading to renewed efforts to bolster the software supply chain.
In the past few months alone, we’ve seen Google and Microsoft team up to fund the Alpha-Omega Project, which aims to work directly with project maintainers to find new bugs in open-source codebases. And Spotify, meanwhile, recently launched a new €100,000 ($109,000 USD) fund to support small-scale “indie” project maintainers.
Today, it’s the turn of open source backend-as-a-service (BaaS) company Appwrite to launch a dedicated fund for open-source project maintainers and follows hot on the heals of its recent $27 million fundraise.
“Open source drives the world’s technology, yet many companies that benefit from it do little-to-nothing to contribute back to the open-source community,” Appwrite founder and CEO Eldad Fux told VentureBeat. “As a company born out of open source, we understand how important it is to make sure we create a healthy ecosystem for our technology.”
Founded in 2019, Appwrite serves developers with APIs to power the underlying infrastructure of their applications, including user authentication, security, API management, file storage, databases and more. As an open-source product, businesses can deploy Appwrite wherever they wish and avoid becoming locked into any specific ecosystem — and it’s this open-source foundation that has now led Fux to create its new Open Source Software Fund (OSS Fund).
“I know what it’s like to spend long hours in front of your computer, putting your blood, sweat and tears into something you love and that is also benefiting thousands or even millions of people around the world,” Fux said. “I’ve known all along that we would use some of Appwrite’s success and investment to support other developers and maintainers just like me, to give back in order to look forward.”
The fund is relatively modest in size, starting out at $50,000 in its first year, which will be awarded to open-source maintainers behind projects that “lay the very foundation for today’s digital infrastructure,” but whose work isn’t being recognized as such financially. And there is scope to increase the fund each year, in line with Appwrite’s own financial growth.
According to Fux, the fund will support around 20 open-source projects in its inaugural year, with each garnering around $2,500.
“We’re looking to support a variety of maintainers and projects making a technological impact,” Fux said. “We will prioritize projects that are maintained by individuals and are not already well-supported by other funds or organizations. We hope that by providing this support, we could also help raise awareness and encourage more companies and individuals to take part in helping make the open-source ecosystem more sustainable.”
In terms of how the money will be allocated and who will decide, Fux said that Appwrite will set up a committee constituting internal team members and those from the broader Appwrite open-source community, who collectively will decide which projects best qualify for funding. Criteria will include things like a project’s popularity, technological impact, community growth and its existing financial status.
Project maintainers interested in applying for support from the Appwrite OSS Fund can do so here.
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