We’re huge open-source fans at Browserling. We’ve open sourced hundreds of node.js modules and many other inventions that everyone in the world uses, including browserify that gets millions of monthly downloads.
We don’t profit from our open-source work and we know how difficult it is to make money being an open-source developer. IT’S INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT. The only real options are to work for an open-source company, but there aren’t that many and your open-source work may not be aligned with the company’s goals. The other way is to support your own work by consulting, which is less than ideal. And the third way is to create a company around your own open-source work, which is what we did.
We used our node.js modules, combined them with other open-source modules written by other people, and we built a profitable business. And now we have extra money to spend on good things. One of the first good things we’re doing is we’re setting aside a portion of our revenue to support other great open-source developers. We just created a Browserling’s Pateron supporter account and we’ve setup monthly donations for two great developers.
The first two people we’re supporting are Feross Aboukhadijeh (Patreon profile | Github | Twitter) and Mathias Buus (Patreon profile | Github | Twitter). They’re mad scientists and also have open-sourced hundreds of node.js modules that the entire web uses. This is our thank you to them for their great work.
With this blog post I’d also like to make a call to all companies that depend on open-source work of others. Open-source developers need your support! There is a huge amount of mutual benefit that comes from creating direct relationships with these developers. They matter more than you realize. And if you don’t know who they are, ask your engineering team, because they do.