Announcing Open Collective for Ionide

Today, I’m glad to announce that we start accepting donations for the Ionide on Open Collective.

If you’ve never heard about it, Open Collective is a crowdsourcing platform focused on funding on-going activities of OSS projects and non-profit organizations around software development. It’s been fairly successful for some well-known OSS projects like WebPack, Bable, or Vue.js. The good thing about Open Collective is a fact that under the hood funds are handled by the Open Source Collective — the US registered non-profit (501c6) organization. And that it provides full transparency on how funds are spent.

The decision to start accepting donations was not easy — for a long time I had believed that pure code-contributions from community members are enough, later I hoped that one or several of the huge organizations using F# (and Ionide) will decide to sponsor development of it.

Unfortunately, that was not a case, and at the same time, Ionide was becoming more and more important for the F# ecosystem. Making high-quality IDE is a time-consuming task and often for me, it’s been a choice between working more on projects with clients or fixing Ionide/FSAC. Or it’s been a choice between going to the cinema or fixing Ionide/FSAC… and neither of those choices should be forced on the maintainers of the popular OSS projects. I strongly believe that with enough work Ionide could become the best IDE for any functional programming language on the market.

But no matter what will be the result of this action, simply being totally supported by the generosity of others makes us endlessly grateful, no matter what else happens. Also, no matter what will happen, I’ll continue to work on Ionide and other parts of F# ecosystem as long as possible.

FAQ

Q: Is that about you getting money?
A: Nope, I’m quite happy with how’s my business going and how much money I earn. But I believe that long term sustainability of the F# OSS tooling cannot be guaranteed by the fact that my business is going at the moment well enough that I can afford to work some hours on something else. And I believe that we need to create sustainability model for F# OSS tooling.

Q: Why not Patreon or just PayPal donations?
A: Patreon or PayPal donations tend to support the creator directly. And what I want to achieve there is the sustainability of the project — maybe in the future someone else will become core maintainer of it, maybe Ionide will grow in the future, maybe it will become something more than just VSCode plugin. In any case, Open Collective is about supporting the project, not necessarily current maintainer.

Q: Are you planning to introduce a model similar to Fody, where everyone using project should become backer?
A: Nope, we are not going to create any kind of enforcement. However, if you use Ionide, and like it, I’d strongly recommend becoming a backer — as this is the only way to guarantee that the project will be getting better and better.

Q: My team is using Ionide, how can we help?
A: Go to your boss (or someone that manages money) and tell them to become a sponsor. As I’ve mentioned above, money is handled by a non-profit organization — you will get a normal invoice from them, so everything should be fairly simple from a legal/accounting point of view. And while I’m grateful for any single donations, I don’t think we can achieve our goals without some corporate sponsoring

Q: Why not move to dual licensing like ImageSharp?
A: Ionide will always be MIT and MIT only

If you have more questions, please ask them in comments. I’m happy to answer any.