OpenCollective-style funding

In the OVA, @kirk suggested using OpenCollective for RIOT. (I’d like to keep the thread open to alternatives like liberapay might be, but Kirk seemed to know what he’s talking about, so let’s take it as a starting point).

I’m posing a few questions that might help assess whether that’s something to have a deeper look into:

  • Do we, from a very feel-of-the-community point of view, like this?
  • How do we get by an estimate of whether there’d even be financial input through this channel?
  • AIU (disclaimer: never had to do with any of it) our current cost and funding structure is mainly shaped by the founding organizations. Does that work well for the involved? Is it sustainable (it seems so)? Do we need funding for more infrastructure (murdock, HIL)?
  • Is this something we could run large and small bug bounties with, possibly for strategic goals of the project that nobody who is in to whichever extent employed to work on RIOT can get time on? (@mcr’s comment on “wish I had time/funding to make [6TiSCH] happen” is what triggered me to take this up here)
  • If so, approval of bug bounties would put more weight to the decision process on roadmap components (where roadmap was a big topic on the summit anyway). Can the nascent roadmap process bear that?
  • Are there any external services we’d need budget for?
  • Might this make running (especially in-person) summits easier?
  • Is there anything not on this list that’d strongly indicate we don’t try this?

I’d like that. Having money can’t be bad. Right now, as a community, we’re utterly broke. And the founding institutions’ money cannot easily be spent on some things. (e.g., projects can buy hardware, but IIUC it is difficult to get ongoing AWS budget for CI) I don’t think there’d be much money flowing in, but having an easy way for everyone to directly fund RIOT (be it unspecific or via bug/feature bounties) would be awesome.

as long as the project is running, you can use external funding money for AWS services. if the project is well managed, this is not a problem.

nice brain-storming :wink: certainly liberapay should be looked at too. You’re right that if lots of donations come in it increases the management load a bit - as its tricky to give some money to “fringe” people. We’ve done it on a track-record basis or after seeing some cool PRs from that person. In a university environment we always see a star programmer with a bit of time and a funding gap - and traditionally that’s tricky to fund. A donations account makes it very simple - and transparent as every transaction is visible to the managers.

Another thing we used it for was to cross-donate to open source software projects of vital interest to ours - boosting use of a cool library for example (through lib specific knowledge! in our case it was stuff like libPNG, web assembler…)

I would say - try it - and keep it simple initially - so companies/donors can see its benefits and hopefully donate more. If it doesn’t seem to work its easy to spend it on summit goodies and close it down.

AWS is a good one actually… turn on - use - pay - - shut down - claim :wink:

Turns out liberapay has a small limit per donation… opencollective allows 10k$ easily :wink: However liberapay can be in Euros (nice!) and does not take a cut (you’re meant to donate a trickly to them)

Our previous attempts to set up a legal construct/foundation went AWOL unfortunately. Having additional ways in channeling money from wannabe RIOT sponsors to RIOT bounty contributors can’t be bad. I’d tend towards trying this, in small steps?

Can you explain what “external funding money” means here? Is this a University/INRIA term, or what do you mean?

I didn’t know about OpenCollective or liberapay. Years (decades!) ago, FreeSWAN used I don’t understand liberapay’s model exactly: I got the impression from reading the web site that workers need to configure their own stripe or paypal. That is, we’d have to collect money, manage it, and then make payments. Linux Foundation also has a system at: ( was introduced to it. I’m treasurer)

I haven’t worked with SPI but a similar organization that handled Debian’s funds for Europe. The process was reasonably straightforward; things being managed more on the “write a mail” than “fill out a web form” side is more a matter of taste than an up- or downside. (A bit like the mailing list and the forum, probably…)