A Tithe for Free Software and Open Source

I spotted this via Hacker News, a proposal from the founder of DuckDuckGo. The idea is to develop another support model beyond corporate patronage and donation. Gabriel Weinberg is putting his money where his mouth is, committing a fraction of the search engine’s profits to funding FOSS projects.

A tithe is a voluntary tax (often 10% of income), usually paid yearly to a religious organization. I’d like to adopt this concept for free and open source software (FOSS), which in many ways is like a religion.

Incidentally, I hadn’t realized DDG is so small, though clearly it empowers them to do something so bold, and to open up direction of how funds should be distributed in part to their community. I already am a fan for their commitment to privacy, well beyond that of just about any other web service.

Weinberg has put the call out for other companies to follow his example. If the funds are offered without condition, as in this first case, I think it is worth spreading the word. I suspect that a huge number of companies owe their success to the use of FOSS so a voluntary tax would seem like a fair return, in addition or in place of technical contributions back to such projects.

Help me start a FOSS Tithing movement, Gabriel Weinberg

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