Let's make it easier to contribute to open source
This year, Dat received $100,000 from Handshake, which we plan to use on compensating individuals who have already been active in the community -- or in other words, those who have already volunteered their free time to the project. We believe the distributed web will be best built from the ground up, from a wide variety of voices that just want to see the web flourish without centralized control. This requires a ton of volunteers.
Since its founding, Dat has been funded largely by grants and donations. This keeps Dat independent and focused on its core mission: making a great distributed data sharing protocol. After some project grants wrapped up in 2017, Dat went through a period of reduced funding. Since then, new developments have largely been volunteer-driven for the past couple of years. Although the underlying technology has been stable, there are still many extensions, features, and tools that are being published daily. These people sometimes find ways to fund themselves, whether through 20% time at their organization, getting an individual grant, or convincing their organization/lab/institute/company that dat is what they need.
There will always, though, be core work that gets left behind. This work largely cannot be funded by traditional means. Maintenance, usability, and documentation -- the work that gets new volunteer developers able to get involved and excited to contribute -- is often the work that no one wants to fund.
This is why for this round of unrestricted funding, we (the Dat governance team) want to spend the money on folks who have already been contributing, who have asked for funding, and who are interested in improving onboarding for new users and contributors to the Dat ecosystem.
Our first short-term grant goes out to RangerMauve, who will be working on improving Dat ecosystem libraries for both file archives and append only log databases to work in applications closer to the user: in mobile and the browser. You can keep track of what RangerMauve is working on by watching their GitHub profile over the next few months -- everything contributed will be open source.
We're very excited to have a new (small) influx of money to give folks who have been until now donating their time to the project, who care about it's success, and want to make it easier for everyone to contribute to it's usability.
We are really looking forward to announcing new ways that contributors can get money for volunteering or for running their own local dat meetups. Feel free to get in touch with Karissa (okdistribute in IRC) if you'd like to talk about this.
Volunteering on Dat can be as simple as:
- Answering questions in public chat channels like gitter and #dat on IRC.
- Asking and answering questions from other folks on GitHub or StackOverflow;
- Giving a talk and mentioning the project;
- Running a conference or hackathon to invite folks to the community;
- Creating a new open source module that builds upon others' work;
- Opening a pull request to one of the many (hundreds, if not thousands) of modules that power the core user interfaces (commandline, desktop, beaker, and client libraries);
- Fixing typos in documentation;
- Creating and facilitating weekly community-communication (comm-comm) meetings ;
- Writing a blog post that mentions the project and suggests new ways forward;
- and the list goes on...
Thanks again for being an amazing developer community.