GitHub & Open Technology Fund: A Chat on Open Source Sustainability

GitHub & Open Technology Fund: A Chat on Open Source Sustainability

Open Technology Fund (OTF)

  • OTF supports internet freedom globally by funding open-source internet freedom technologies.
  • OTF launched the FOSS Sustainability Fund to address the gap in funding for open-source sustainability and maintenance.
  • The fund is supported by a variety of donors, including GitHub, Omidyar Network, OCTA for Good, Schmidt Futures, and Plain Text Group.
  • The fund currently has $1.5 million annually and supports a handful of projects with varying funding amounts based on their needs and deliverables.
  • Funding examples include the DEFO project to update the OpenSSL library and Tails, a portable operating system for anti-censorship and anti-surveillance.
  • OTF also provides other funding opportunities and in-kind services through its resource labs to support open-source technology projects.

FOSS Sustainability Fund

  • The FOSS Sustainability Fund aims to address the insufficient maintenance funding for internet freedom and censorship circumvention tools.
  • Projects applying for the fund should demonstrate how they advance internet freedom in repressive environments and benefit end users in those contexts.
  • The fund focuses on both technical and human elements necessary for project success, including governance planning, community meetups, diversity initiatives, and community management.
  • The maximum funding period is two years, but the fund aims to support projects in building long-term sustainability through strategic planning, community facilitation, fundraising capacity, and technical infrastructure improvements.
  • Applicants can be based anywhere in the world and can be individuals, organizations, or groups of friends without a formal structure.
  • The fund supports software that has been released for at least three years and has at least four updates per year.
  • The application process involves a lighter weight concept note followed by a more detailed application for selected projects.
  • Feedback is provided to projects that do not move forward to the proposal stage, and specific guidance is given to those invited to submit a full proposal.
  • Funding is not provided as a lump sum, but rather based on project deliverables and milestones.
  • The OTF does not require specific licenses for funded projects and does not own the software produced.
  • The application deadline for the current funding round is May 17th, 2023.
  • Funding for successful projects is expected to begin in mid-fall 2023.

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