Coming Together to Support the Open Source Community

Over the last few weeks, conference and event cancellations around the world have heavily impacted the open source community. These events play an important role in the ecosystem that supports free and open source software. If we want that ecosystem to remain healthy, it is important for us to act now.

Why support matters now more than ever

Conferences and events provide essential opportunities for the open source community to:

  • Coordinate activities
  • Raise funds
  • Grow their user bases
  • Support each other
  • Evangelize their technologies
  • Educate and onboard new contributors
  • Ship new releases
  • Share knowledge

Running these events requires a lot of time, effort, and money. When they are cancelled, the event organizers bear the brunt of the losses. If we want these events to continue—and the open source community to sustain itself and grow—all users of free and open source software must respond.

The FOSS Responders

Open source community leaders from across the industry have come together to form a working group called FOSS Responders. We’re focused on identifying open source events, communities, foundations, and community members who are most in need of support. We also want to support individuals who are unable to absorb conference-related cancellation fees. Our goals: amplify these community needs and mobilize organizational and individual resources to help.

This working group of committed industry professionals includes participants from Indeed, GitLab, Open Collective, the Sustain community, the Drupal Association, and several other organizations. You can find more information about this working group—including information on how to join and participate—at fossresponders.com.

Virtual funding event

Indeed and Open Collective are collaborating to host a virtual funding event on May 22, 2020. We want to raise funds for conference organizers that have suffered irrecoverable losses due to event cancellations. We are calling on our peers in the industry to join us at this event as fellow FOSS Funders.

By coming together to share knowledge, collaborate on decision making, and coordinate our collective response, we can ensure that these events will continue to serve and support the community in the months and years to come. You can find more information about this event here.

Taking action

Regardless of your need or your capacity to help, the time to act is now. Here are some specific actions you can take.

How to help

Now is the time to give back to the projects we depend on. This is how we future-proof our open source infrastructure investments and help millions who built the software we benefit from:

  • Donate and buy membership to foundations that support your projects
  • Donate to individuals working on projects you use via GitHub Sponsors and Open Collective
  • Donate to the FOSS Responders Open Collective—your funds will be used to help individuals who might otherwise fall through the cracks

How to get help

FOSS Responders will amplify your need so others can easily see who and how to help. By sharing your need, we can connect you with helpers.

  • If you are an individual who needs help paying for conference-related cancellation fees, fill out the FOSS Responders Individual Request
  • If you had to cancel an event and your organization needs financial assistance as a result, open an EVENT issue
  • If you need other kinds of help, open an ORGANIZE issue

How to get involved

The FOSS Responders working group is growing quickly and we could use your help.


Cross-posted on Medium.

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