Octobox.io is paying it forward

Benjamin Nickolls
Octobox
Published in
2 min readJul 10, 2019

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Last time we sent out an update we were rolling out comment threads on Octobox.io. Today we’re adding support for reviews and reviews comments, and making this the default experience for users of Octobox:

Octobox now supports reviews, review comments and comments on reviews (they’re not the same thing!).

But that’s not the subject of this post.

No, today we are making good on a commitment that Andrew and I made when we decided to work full-time on Octobox.io: to make Octobox an example of how the open source community can solve many of the issues surrounding its sustainability.

Octobox is in a privileged position: we exist as an edge node in the software dependency graph, providing an open source application to end users who can (and do) pay for a hosted instance. With that privilege comes a responsibility and an opportunity. A responsibility to provide for those who have provided for us, and an opportunity to increase the effectiveness and value of the software that we are already invested in.

Octobox.io now has a community of 13,000 users. Around 80 pay for private repository access individually or for their organisation, bringing in ~2k/month of revenue. So, as of today, Octobox Ltd. (the commercial entity that operates Octobox.io) will pay for all of its own hosting and will reimburse the community for the support that we have received over the years. Octobox Ltd. will make a one time donation to the Octobox community on Open Collective of $3,728 which we will then use to make donations and pledges to projects through the fee-free process that allows collectives to donate to other collectives. Details of which projects we select, how much we give and and why will be the subject of a later post.

Of course we would love to give more, and we will. We stand by our commitment to provide at least 15% of it’s revenue back to the community, and we encourage anyone who shares our privileged position: anyone who has the opportunity to generate an income from the work (and sometimes the charity) of the community, to consider the needs of others within that same community who are increasingly asking for your financial support.

Because sometimes it’s more valuable to do less individually in order to unlock the potential of the whole to achieve more.

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Benjamin Nickolls
Octobox

Product guy at @octobox. Formerly @tidelift via @librariesio and @dependencyci. Part time game designer and co founder of @atpcardgame.