For a while, I have been thinking of economically viable business/funding models for open technology; I believe this is the most important problem facing open technology today. See some of my previous post here: the why? the how?

Fortunately, there are many efforts in this direction. But alas, it will take time before we converge on a long-term solution with no strings attached.

I propose an interim solution.

Assuming we are all most generous on our birthdays, the general idea is simple:

  1. On your birthday allocate a small sum of money to donate proportionally to the open projects you use the most.

  2. Then, you can also share the list of projects with your friends so that they can gift-you by supporting the projects you care about.

And here is a (potential) practical plan for open software (open source, libre) projects.

On your birthday:

  1. Generate a list of programs with usage statistics and order by percent of usage.

    • Shell/Python script?

    • Output to a Spreadsheet/CSV file.

  2. Determine the amount of money you will donate this year to support the projects you use.

    • A small fraction of your disposable income? remember some of these programs allow you to get your work done.
  3. Multiply the sum of money by the fraction of usage for every project.

  4. Donate proportionally to every project.

    • The more you use a program, the larger the fraction of money devoted to support that project.
  5. Share your program’s usage stats spreadsheet with all of your close friends.

    • Through e-mail or social media.

    • You can use dropbox, google docs …etc.

  6. Encourage your friends to donate to your listed projects as a gift on your birthday.

    • Perhaps to projects you both use.

    • When they donate you both receive the thank you e-mail.

Steps 1-4 are personal donations (you can do these on your own). Steps (5-7) are gifts from your friends.

Note: Steps 1-4 can be automated in the future.

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