ChatSecure v4.0.9 - Sustainable Open Source Starts With You
The v4.0.9 release marks the beginning of a fundraising experiment to measure the long term viability of user-driven open source privacy software development. ChatSecure has been around for over five(!) years now, and grown from a small hobby project to a full time mission to prevent the centralization of communication.
This growth wouldn’t have been possible without the generous funding and support of organizations like The Guardian Project, OpenITP, and the Open Technology Fund along the way. The open source privacy software scene would not be nearly as vibrant without grant funding, and many projects you’ve heard of receive large amounts of funding from similar sources.
Unfortunately there are large risks with this funding model:
- Funders generally do not support ongoing software maintenance. Grants require specific milestones and deliverables.
- The grant cycle can be very long. It can take over a year and multiple iterations between a concept and secured funding.
- Even after multiple rounds of negotiation, funders may ultimately decide not to fund your vision.
- Fundraising is a full time job. For a small team, that means less time can be spent on improving the product.
- There’s also the elephant in the room. Although “Internet freedom” appropriations may be safe for now, a large chunk of this funding pool could also quickly dry up, leaving many projects scrambling to keep the lights on.
Other funding models don’t work well either for tools in this space. Venture capital is incapable of funding “privacy software” products without eventually introducing something to monetize you by violating your privacy. The upfront cost of paid App Store builds prevents vulnerable users without reliable access to payment services from downloading the app. Services like Patreon may work for some projects, but most rarely receive enough funds to actually pay anyone for development. Offering white labels and consulting services can also work to fund core development, but it doesn’t scale well and can take a considerable amount of time.
❤️ This Is For You
You, the user, are the reason this project exists. We’ve now put the power of direct funding in your hands. There are quite a few of you now, and if a relatively small fraction of you can contribute a few bucks a month, you will prove that open source privacy software development can be sustainable.
You can now show your continued support directly within the app. The current options are ☕️ $2.99/mo, 🍺 $5.99/mo, and 🎁 $19.99/mo. Hopefully these are enough choices for now, and we’re welcome to any feedback or suggestions. If you’re already a supporter, or don’t have the spare cash right now, you can help in other ways like improving a translation, submitting a bug report, or simply spreading the word.
Thank you so much for your support!