FOSS Sustainability


Overview of FOSS/Open Source Sustainability and Pay The Maintainers movements.

View the Project on GitHub ShaneCurcuru/fosssustainability

Software Projects

A single open source software project or product.

Relationships With Other Aspects

Vocabularies used: technical,
Timescale aspect changes: short,
Scope of aspect: small,
Relationship with other aspects: maintainer, foundation, software-company,

One part of sustainability is: will the software your computer runs keep working? On all the levels of creating, building, maintaining, selling, or using software, how do we improve the chances that the software people around the world use will not fail in the future?

The question of “keep the software working” spans time, scale, location, end user, and more.

  • Improving sustainability of that one utility software module maintained by one person (we all know of an example) is only partly related to the whole supply chain.
  • Supply chain sustainability has a lot of organizations working on it - and also shows how complex a problem it is.
  • Sustainability means over time, which for software means fixing bugs when they are found later. This is complex when some other project in your supply chain is what actually causes the bug in your project.
  • Socially we want software that every person uses to keep working, without them having to be technical experts. That complexity is larger than most vendors or organizations think about today.
  • At the policy scale, governments want efficient and safe markets of software that support and contribute to their economy. Consider this to be sustainability of the entire computer ecosystem.

Sustainability Questions

How do we separate out and clearly express sustainability of software itself (supply chains, maintenance, vendor choices, etc.) from all the social, financial, and organizational aspects? While they’re all related, there are different ways to approach technical issues than other kinds of issues. Similarly, some groups may seem focused solely on either technical aspects, or social aspects. How do we have a “Yes, and…” conversation to encourage thinking about both halves?

Other Reference Links

Tags: Software