Free and Open Source Software is the foundation that powers everything on the internet. The robustness of this software is critical to the whole economy. As I write this, Petya ransomware is infecting major corporate networks and racking up a terrible cost.
While Petya attacks closed-source Windows platforms it exemplifies just how much risk there is when computer vulnerabilities are exploited.
Right now the open source world operated on the donated time of many people around the world. Fixing bugs often takes a back seat to family and work.
What kind of things could be accomplished in free software if there was just a little bit more money?
Money in the form of income for the developer would allow them to spend more time each week working on support questions and implementing features or fixing bugs.
Beyond the ability to spend more time on development and support there are other things that project owners could do with a couple more bucks in their pocket.
- Pay for a professionally designed logo
- Hire a designer for web design
- Get a technical writer or editor to review and polish the documentation
- Pay for advertising to promote the project and raise its profile.
- Pay for a hosted forum, website hosting or infrastructure.
If it was easier for open source developers to access funding then it would be possible to push the entire ecosystem forward to a new level of quality. Further accelerating the adoption of open source within enterprises. Improved documentation would make it easier for other developers to quickly assess and integrate open source components driving even more innovation.
As we see today with Petya, software bugs can be immeasurably costly to the economy. It’s in all our best interest to ensure software is of the best quality we can make and part of that is going to be to ensure that the developers writing it are supported.