We are back with our second FOSS Fund recipient of the year! The FOSS Fund has been a great way for us to financially support and sustain the larger open source ecosystem. It’s an easy way for your company to give back as well. But before we dive into why it’s important to contribute our dollars to open source let’s make the announcement you’ve all been waiting for. The winner of our $10,000 FOSS Fund for this quarter is…
ESLint uses donations from companies like Salesforce to pay our maintainers. As ESLint grew, we found that the few hours that maintainers were donating to the project were not enough to sustain the project. Just triaging issues and pull requests can take several hours each day even before any development happens. With our first round of donations, we were able to hire our first part-time maintainer who dedicates ten hours each week to the project. That one change dramatically improved our ability to keep up with issues and pull requests and also allowed some larger-scale projects, such as converting our Jekyll-based website to use Eleventy and participating in the Google Season of Docs. Going forward, we hope to fund 1–2 more part-time maintainers so we can finally make some progress on our backlog of major features.
Although open source is free to use, ESLint and many other Open Source projects rely on donations to sustain and grow their projects. Most companies use open source and, let’s be honest, they even depend on it. But how many of these companies are giving back to open source?
Why do we need to give back financially?
When we started running the FOSS Fund, we knew that open source was “everywhere” at Salesforce, but we decided to ask our teams where exactly they were using it. Turns out, open source shows up all over the place, including in developer tooling and environments (Service Mesh, testing, setting up employee laptops), within some of our products (Heroku, B2C Commerce, Salesforce.org, MuleSoft, Chatter) and for customer support with Service Cloud (Einstein Article Recommendations). Some of our products are even open sourced themselves, such as Lightning Web Components and Salesforce.org Open Source Commons.
Seeing how much of the work we do everyday is dependent on open source has reinforced the fact that we need to go beyond contributing to open source code and documentation. We looked for ways that our company (and yours!) could financially support the community and individual projects. There are many ways that you can to do this, but here is what we’ve chosen to focus on:
- Joining foundations including Linux Foundation, CNCF, TODO Group, Python Software Foundation
- Sponsoring open source conferences
- Setting up a FOSS Fund
A bonus to giving back financially? You can use it to encourage your employees to make open source contributions. With the FOSS fund, all nominations are submitted by the previous quarter’s contributors and only the current quarter’s contributors can vote.
Should you financially support open source?
You might still be asking yourself if your company should give financially to open source as well. I mean, it’s free for a reason, right? Yes, it is free to use, but we encourage you to look at where open source is used in your company.
Ask yourselves these questions:
- How many of those areas depend on open source software?
- What would you do if it disappeared?
- Are you supporting open source in other ways, such as code and documentation contributions?
The great thing about the FOSS Fund is that although Salesforce gives $10,000 a quarter to projects, that number isn’t required. You can choose the amount you want to give!
We are glad to support this quarter’s winner, ESLint, with FOSS Fund dollars and can’t wait to see what project our contributors select next time!